Bing has announced that their Bing in the Classroom program is now open to all kindergarten to 12th grade U.S. schools. Bing for Schools search, which incorporates both safe search and an ad free search environment, has been tested in a pilot project since the start of the school year, with more than 5,000 schools and 4.5 million children.
Bing for Schools was first announced in June 2013, and was followed in August with a Scroogled campaign targeting the fact that Google shows ads in their search results while Bing’s new school search would not. Bing also states they add filters to prevent adult content.
“We created Bing in the Classroom because we believe students deserve a search environment tailored for learning. Classrooms should be ad-free, and that should be as true online as it is offline,” said Matt Wallaert, creator of Bing in the Classroom, Microsoft.
Bing for Schools requires registration by the school, so users who just want an ad-free version of Bing can’t use it for home use. However, students using Bing for Schools can earn credits with the Bing Rewards program for new Surface tablets for their school.
Bing will also have daily lesson plans based on the image used each day on the Bing homepage. They want to incorporate these images into the classroom. Bing has a Microsoft Educator Network available, where previous images used on the homepage will have lesson plans.
While Bing won’t be earning revenue specifically from ads, since ads are disabled, what they are hoping for is that children who are using Bing in school will start using Bing at home – where they will see advertisements – as well as on their smartphones. After all, these are the next generation of searchers who will buy things through search engine ads.
Bing states that they are the only major search engine that provides a safe ad-free search for students. There have been many fake Google “safe search for kids” websites set up, many running through the AdSense program to generate revenue from ads, and many of which are used in schools as their default search engine. But Google has never done one specifically for schools before.