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Microsoft to send Bing to school this year

A special version of Bing will be offered to schools later this year -- one that promises no ads, no adult content, and special learning features.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Bing may enroll at your local school by the end of the year.

Microsoft is developing a special edition of its Bing search engine geared specifically toward students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Known as Bing for Schools, the tailored version will remove all ads from search results, filter out adult content, beef up privacy protection, and add learning features to promote digital literacy, Microsoft said in a blog post Monday.

This new version will be free and entirely voluntary for any interested schools. No special software or unique Web address will be required to access the site.

To promote digital learning, the Bing for Schools home page will offer students hot spots to help them investigate and explore new topics. Short lesson plans will be on hand to encourage them to use Bing to find answers to different questions.

Those who want to learn more can register at the Bing for Schools Web site. Microsoft promises information and updates on how schools can take advantage of the program.

Obviously, Microsoft wants to expand the reach of Bing. But a student-friendly version without some of the pitfalls of the regular search engine could earn good grades among teachers, school officials, and parents.

"We see the program as something we can build alongside teachers, parents, and visionaries to create the best possible search experience for our children, and will continue to update you with new information as we work towards our launch later this year," Microsoft said in its blog.