While the search space may be largely dominated by Google (News - Alert) — a report from Experian Hitwise states that around 65 percent of searches are conducted by the company’s search engine — other players like Yahoo and Bing do have a lot to offer. For example, Bing has some unique Facebook integration features not available with Google.
Still, it’s clear that Microsoft (News - Alert) has a long way to go before it can really take on Google at its own game. This is Microsoft we’re talking about, though; it’s not a company that gives up easily.
In fact, its latest Bing-related initiative — a free, national pilot program called Bing for Schools — is a clever way to get the attention of a whole new generation of Internet users. Bing for Schools provides districts across the country the ability to access ad-free search in their schools. This includes K-12 public and private schools.
Aside from giving Microsoft access to a new search audience, it helps avoid the commercialization of student Web searches performed on school networks by simply removing all ads from Bing search results. In addition, Bing for Schools enhances privacy protection, sets strict filters for adult content, and even adds specialized learning features to promote digital literacy.
“Collaborating with community partners like Microsoft is an essential part of bringing the best possible educational experience we can to our students,” said Ronald S. Chandler, chief information officer of the Los Angeles Unified School District, in a statement. “I look forward to supporting the Bing for Schools program, which is designed to promote digital literacy by helping to put new devices into the hands of students, teach them how to use them well, and facilitating learning in a safe and supportive environment.”
Schools can opt into the initial Bing for Schools pilot program right now, which will allow them to earn Bing Rewards credits early. These credits can be earned by anyone on behalf of any participating school by simply using Bing at home. When 30,000 credits are accrued, Bing will send a Microsoft Surface RT with Touch Cover to that school.
Edited by Alisen Downey
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