Microsoft is trying to take over the classroom, and its latest effort is a customized version of Bing tailored specifically for schools. When the program rolls out later this year, school administrators will be able to enable an ad-free version of Bing with always-on SafeSearch — Microsoft's name for adult content filtering — and a few educational touches as well, including a version of Bing's homescreen image that's been augmented with simple questions. The changes are basic, though Microsoft says that it'll be announcing more details on the "Bing for Schools" program later on.
Would schools cut off Google?
Even if Bing's education efforts don't amount to many changes, it could be an easy way to sway administrators off of Google, which doesn't offer a comparable service. For its part, Google does offer the option to limit YouTube access to YouTube EDU — a sectioned-off content category featuring organizations like TED and the Smithsonian — but most students should have no problem turning Google Search's adult content filters on and off.
It's clear that Microsoft wants school administrators to keep its software and services on their minds. Though the new service isn't available just yet, the announcement coincides with a major discount for schools on the Surface RT. Through the end of August, Microsoft is going to be offering the tablet for $199 and Type Covers for $50 — a combo that usually retails for $599. The company also announced today that 34 more school districts have agreed to use Windows 8, bringing the total number of announced districts and universities up to 44.