Parents: Are your children’s minds being corrupted at school? That’s exactly what Microsoft claims in its latest Scroogled ad. As it petitions parents and students to take action at their local schools, Microsoft hopes to take over school districts with its safe new Bing for Schools search engine and knock Google Search out of the educational picture.
Microsoft’s new video, which seems like a blast from the 80s (a common theme in some of their recent adverts), starts off with your typical parent-child conversation:
Parents: How was school today? Learn anything cool?
Kid: Well I learned how to get a free credit report, how to finance my home mortgage, and how to get a deal on vitamin supplements.
Wait, what? Who would dare tease such a sweet, innocent mind inside the classroom with such vulgarities? Why, the vitamin-hustling, Do No Evil crew at Google, of course!
Bing for Schools is ad-free, unlike Google Search (and it apparently knows more about Mesopotamia than Google does). According to Microsoft’s Scroogled site, 79% “of parents of K-12 students who search the Web believe schools should have the choice of making search in the classroom ad-free.” Even worse, 84% “are unaware of the fact that when children search on classroom computers, they are exposed to the same ads that they’d see on a public computer.”
So, parents, please call you local schools before your child gets Scroogled and becomes obsessed with their credit reports and the latest in natural vitamin supplements, just like you!
Just out of sheer curiosity, I decided to use both search engines to test out the actual responses to the child’s potential query about Mesopotamia:
Bing Search – History of Mesopotamia
Google Search – History of Mesopotamia
Interestingly, both returned similar results, giving Wikipedia’s Mesopotamia entry in first place,. Google, however, displayed relevant photos beside the site results while Bing displayed an ad from Amazon peddling history books, not Google! Granted, the fact that Google displays no ads related to Mesopotamia simply means that no one is currently bidding on those terms via Google Adwords, and these results weren’t obtained using Bing’s ad-free search engine, but still: which organic results would you say are more useful?