Microsoft has launched a new ad-free version of its Bing search engine that targets schools and educators, the company announced today.
A Pew Internet report from late 2012 said that 94 percent of teachers indicated students were “very likely” to use “Google or other online search engine.” That means the kids are searching from younger and younger ages, and their preference of search engine is being defined from a young age. It also means we should be concerned about what these young children are accessing.
“Bing for Schools,” as Microsoft calls it, aims to be a search engine where we don’t have to be concerned about what kids are coming across. It claims to remove all ads from search results, block adult content, and include more privacy protections than normal Bing search.
While Microsoft says this initiative is about providing new tools to educators, it also has incentive on the business side. Microsoft wants kids to use Bing early in their lives instead of Google so they’ll use Bing outside of school as they grow up.
Microsoft plans to launch a Bing for Schools pilot program today that will touch 800,000 students as they start their school year. School districts that have already signed up include Los Angeles Unified School District, Atlanta Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District, and Detroit Country Day School.
On top of the ad-free version of Bing, Microsoft is incentivizing schools to use Bing by giving them a way to earn free Surface RT tablets. Through the Bing Rewards program, they can earn one Surface tablet per 30,000 credits. Microsoft estimates that 60 Bing Rewards users can earn a free Surface RT a month for a school.
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