When Microsoft's new search engine Bing debuted last week, some received a surprise. Turning off "safe search" they began to notice pornographic videos popping up as search results – which is really nothing new to users of Google’s video search.
However, simply moving your mouse over the videos would set them to motion, complete with sound. Some expressed outrage; Microsoft, meanwhile, has defended its actions according to InformationWeek. Bing general manager Mike Nichols says that by default Bing is set to "strict" SafeSearch, which he says is a more conservative approach than Google or Yahoo’ take.
He writes, "This is a bit more of a conservative approach than others in the industry. If you set SafeSearch to strict, you will not see any explicit text, image, or video content. If you turn SafeSearch off, which requires you to change the setting and then click again to acknowledge that you are over 18, then explicit content may appear."
Microsoft has added a tool to help network administrators enforce strict SafeSearch. By adding "&adlt=strict" to the end of any search query, only strict search results will be returned. Mr. Nichols insists it’s all about user choice, stating, "We think our current search safety settings are solid, but at Microsoft we are always working on pushing this stuff farther."
One key difference between Google's traditional search and Bing's is that Bing will actually start to play the clips you move your mouse over. Some experts warn that this will likely open Microsoft up to more suits from adult entertainment providers. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all been sued for including still pornographic images in search results.
Some countries have begun blocking Bing's pornographic results and are angry with Microsoft. China and certain Muslim countries are among those to implement nationwide blocks on the content.
Microsoft's search engine has drawn a lot of attention, but has failed to surpass Yahoo in hits, according to reports. Market researcher Comscore states that Google owns 64 percent of the U.S. search market, Yahoo owns 21 percent, and Bing is in third with 8 percent. Microsoft spent over $1.5B USD to develop Bing, chiefly with the acquisition of Fast Search & Transfer.