Microsoft has announced a new ad-free version of Bing aimed specifically at the education market. The initiative -- appropriately named Bing for Schools -- is launching as a pilot program and not only gives K-12 public and private schools in the U.S. the choice to avoid the commercialization of student web searches, it also promises a safer environment with strict filtering of adult content and better privacy protections.
As you’d expect, Microsoft took the opportunity to lash at Google claiming their ads can distract kids from their studies, and stating its belief that schools 'are for learning and not selling.'
But aside from seemingly taking the high road while patting itself on the back, Microsoft has other plans to lure schools towards its search engine. Specifically, the company says anyone who wants to support a particular school — not just parents and teachers — can contribute their Bing Rewards credits to a common pool. For every 30,000 Bing Rewards credits, the school will receive a Microsoft tablet and Touch Cover.
Bing Rewards allows anyone to earn credits simply by using Microsoft’s search engine. According to the company’s estimates, 60 users can earn the necessary 30,000 credits in a month using Bing regularly.
Additionally, Microsoft is also providing free daily lessons on the Bing homepage that are geared to multiple ages and subjects, and are aligned with Common Core standards to make them easy to use.
Several schools with more than 800,000 students have already signed up for the pilot, and though registrations are still open across the nation, Microsoft says only a limited number of schools will be accepted at this stage.