Microsoft is making a play for the education sector today with Bing for Schools, a voluntary program that tailors the company’s search engine for student.
The tweaked Bing experience, suitable for students between kindergarten and the end of high school, removes all advertisements from the search engine due to Microsoft’s belief that schools “are for learning and not selling.”
SafeSearch, Bing’s built-in feature for filtering out adult content, will also be configured to the strictest setting automatically and be amended so that students are unable to change it back manually. A bundle of other enhanced privacy protections will also be present, although Microsoft says these are still to be finalized.
There will be a number of short lesson plans that staff can use to teach basic digital literacy skills related to search and the Common Core, a real-world approach to learning standards adopted by the education system in the US.
Microsoft has emphasized today that it’s still finalizing what will be available in the first version. The altered search engine is free for schools and districts who want to participate and will be configured to work with all search submissions from within the school’s network on Bing.com.
“We see the program as something we can build alongside teachers, parents, and visionaries to create the best possible search experience for our children,” Matt Wallaert, a Bing Behavioral Scientist said.
Bing still has a long way to go before it can dethrone Google Search, but this is yet another example of Microsoft thinking laterally to gain some much-needed street cred.