Bing – Microsoft’s Search Engine

By: Kevin E. Outland | 4-18-14

What It Is:
Bing is search engine, following Google and Yahoo as the biggest on the net.

What It Does:
Microsoft has had several iterations of its search engine. They’ve had “MSN Search”, then “Windows Live Search”, then “Live Search” and finally “Bing”. Go to Bing.com and it’s your window into the world wide web. Type something into their search box and Bing will show you all the websites where you can find what you’re looking for.

Bing comes in a distant third in the Internet search engine wars. Bing’s share of the search engine market is about 5% compared to Google’s 70%. But 5% of the world’s population of Internet users is still a lot of people, and with Bing’s deals with Apple and Yahoo! their share of the Internet search market is bound to increase.

Would My Child Want It?:
Most parents probably find that their kids spend a ton of time online. What may surprise them is how much. A recent U.S. study says kids spend an average of 6 hours a day online. That’s a staggering amount of time. And when they’re looking for something online Bing is a place they can find it. And Bing isn’t just a website. They also have a search app for your kids smartphones and tablets called simply Bing. And in addition if your kids have an Xbox or Xbox One, Bing is there.

What Are The Positives?:
Bing can be a great tool for finding what your kids are looking for online.

What Are The Negatives?:
As with any search engine, there is a downside. You wouldn’t think of Bing as a site packed with explicit content, but type in any term and up come the results in detail. To make matters worse, your kids can search for just images or videos related to the explicit search term they typed in. Now they have a whole screen full of whatever they want to look at without ever going to that site. Bing does have a SafeSearch feature, but that can be easily turned on or off, so the search is only safe if you want it to be.

These same concerns hold true for the Bing search app for mobile devices.

What We Think:
Great tools like Bing, can have their flaws, but it doesn’t mean we don’t use them. If we’re aware of those flaws, we can talk to our kids about them and put some safeguards in place to help protect them like installing Internet filtering software on their computers and choosing safer Internet search apps for their mobile devices.