Microsoft's plan to battle Google in the classroom is launching today. Bing for Schools is a new ad-free version of Microsoft's search service that includes strict filtering and privacy protections designed for schools. The pilot kicks off with 800,000 students in a number of US schools today, with plans to extend it elsewhere for non-pilot schools in the future.

Microsoft is essentially targeting Google directly in schools by offering filtering and restrictions in a service that the search giant doesn't provide itself. While Google offers limited YouTube access and search filters, it's usually trivial for students to switch content filters off unless school administrations have configured them correctly or have additional filtering software installed.

Schools can earn free Surface RTs through Bing Rewards

While Microsoft is offering its discounted Surface RT hardware to schools directly, the Bing for Schools initiative also allows classrooms to earn free tablets for using the service. Classrooms, teachers, parents, or anyone can use the Bing Rewards program to collect credits towards free Surface RT tablets for schools. Each school will be rewarded a Surface RT when they reach 30,000 credits, which Microsoft says is the equivalent of around 60 Bing users using the service regularly for a month. The pilot kicks off today, and schools can register their interest in future plans through Microsoft's Bing for Schools site.