Bing, the second biggest search engine behind Google, is offering a new search option to help K-12 students study. But will Bing for Schools really help? And more importantly, does it have the potential to expand to higher education and life-long learners?
There are three main features that are promoted in the pilot program of Bing for Schools. Each one shows potential, but is also lacking in its ability to think bigger:
While this feature is nice and likely appreciated by anyone who doesn’t enjoy ads, it does not talk about increased, unique, or specialized optimization to ensure you are receiving the best information from which to learn. This means that outside sources can cater content to show up more frequently in searches. For example, McDonald’s could start to target the audience through branded articles. Not having ads is nice, but better search results are what matters to students.
Content filtering to remove adult content
Again, this step is too simple for me. While I think it is very important to keep young children away from adult content, you could also track behavior to ensure that each student’s search results are replicated in future searches to provide information valuable to how they learn. It’s not just filtering, but augmenting the experience to provide the best education results, that is most important.
Augmented privacy protections
This step is great. Every person needs more ways to protect their privacy. In fact, I recently saw a TED video about how exposed we are to cybercrime. I hope this feature continues to be developed and offered to all users.
While the initial idea of Bing for Schools sounds a bit under-thought, it is only in its initial pilot program phase. It is also supported with lesson plans and educational games to increase engagement with instructors and students. I still believe it is a good step forward and hope to see more development grow it into a valuable tool for students from kindergarten through higher education.