Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has launched a classroom-specific version of the Bing search engine on Tuesday called “Bing in the Classroom.” This version of the search engine is ad-free and has privacy controls.
“We created Bing in the Classroom because we believe students deserve a search environment tailored for learning,” said Microsoft’s Bing in the Classroom creator Matt Wallaert in an interview with CNET. “Classrooms should be ad-free, and that should be as true online as it is offline.”
Bing In The Classroom was launched out of a pilot project that used to be called “Bing for Schools.” Microsoft created the pilot in five of the largest U.S. public school districts earlier this year. Microsoft wanted to see if blocking ads made a difference with schoolwork and learning. Many teachers said that the ad-free searches helped improve digital literacy for children.
“I teach kindergarten through fifth-grade media classes, and as soon as I started using Bing in the Classroom, I noticed my kids being more attentive and focused in class,” stated Washington’s Bremerton School District media specialist Lynda Shipley. “We all know advertisements can be distracting, and with Bing in the Classroom I don’t have to worry about inappropriate content getting in the way of the lesson plan or students’ research.”
Microsoft believes that 15 billion search ads are shown to students while they are in school every year. By searching on Bing without ads, students would see online resources rather than ads, company websites, and businesses.
Microsoft’s pilot program expanded to include hundreds of U.S. school districts with over 4.5 million children in 5,000 schools. This resulted in over 35 million ad-free queries throughout the school year. Bing in the Classroom lets teachers set up filters for blocking adult content and ad targeting.
By catering directly to teachers, students, and schools, we just may see Bing’s search marketshare substantially increase.