Microsoft is taking its search and productivity battle with Google to the classroom after having failed to displace the search giant in the consumer internet space. The company has announced its Bing For School programme which seeks to introduce Microsoft’s search and other productivity products to young children. They hope that this will be a gateway to get loyal users. Looks like a long term investment towards onboarding users.
As opposed to Google, Microsoft will be providing the Bing Search without any ads specially for this program, indirectly taking a dig at Google’s context based ad targeting in its services. Microsoft has consistently targeted Google in its previous campaigns, calling their ad sifting and targeting mechanisms as features that intrude on the privacy of users. However, it should be noted that Bing and Outlook.com also feature ads, even though they do it differently from the way Google does it.
The Bing For School program will have no adult content by default in addition to ads. They will also get a Surface tablet. Additionally, students won’t be tracked on the basis of their search habits. The company is testing the program first in the US, specifically with Los Angeles Unified School District and Atlanta Public Schools.
The education sector is now the focus of tech giants who view the rapid increase in computing and internet reliance in school related activities as a goldmine to establish their claim on. Both Google and Apple have been making moves which get these companies and their product into school environments.
Personally, I find that forcing schoolkids to buy into an ecosystem created by a company and enforced by the school to be a wee bit totalitarian. While I agree that students will definitely use products such as Bing, Google and Wikipedia in their educational pursuits, getting schools to enforce which products should be used is a little extreme. Impressionable minds should not be exposed to closed systems and services. They should be given choice as to what they want to use.
What are your thoughts on this? Share them with us in the comments.
Source | Reuters