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In an effort to expand the reach of Bing, Microsoft has launched an ad-free, customized version of its search engine for use within schools, according to Wall Street Journal. Dubbed Bing in the Classroom, the program exited the pilot stage today, and is now available to all eligible K-12 schools in the United States. The program was previously known as Bing for Schools.
The pilot program took place in five of the largest US public school districts, and has since grown to include 4.5 million children in over 5,000 schools. Teachers from across the country have acknowledged that the program is enhancing the classroom environment and improving children's abilities to learn digital literacy skills.
The software giant estimates that every year more than 15 billion search ads are shown to students while they're in school. But with the tailored version of its search engine, students just see online resources.
"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 the program.
In addition to being ad-free, the customized version of the Bing search engine also provides enhanced privacy controls, allowing teachers to create filters to block adult content and ad targeting. The program also adds specialized learning features to promote digital literacy in the classroom.