Microsoft's New Search Engine Puts Porn in Motion
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
By Joseph Abrams
Your kids may get a bang out of Bing — and that's not a good thing, Internet safety experts warned on Monday.
Bing, Microsoft's new search engine (www.bing.com
), went live in the U.S. this weekend, aiming to challenge and possibly unseat industry titan Google.
But bloggers and Internet safety experts quickly discovered that one of Bing's "features" is that it takes only a few clicks for anyone — of any age — to view explicit pornographic videos without even leaving the search engine.
In its bid to beat Google, Microsoft has unveiled a slate of convenient features for Bing, including an "autoplay" tool that lets users preview videos simply by hovering a mouse over them.
That asset may become a liability, because users can get a taste of porn videos on Bing instead of having to go to a smutty Web site — an innovation other search engines have yet to offer.
Technology blogger Loic Le Meur noticed the issue early Monday after testing video search on Bing.
What he found was a cornucopia of pornography that he said transformed the search engine into its very own pornographic Web site.
"You are now on a porn site without leaving Bing. Amazing," Le Meur wrote on his blog.
Bing, like other major search engines, lets users set filtering preferences at one of three levels — strict, moderate or simply off.
Online safety advocates argue that search engines need to do much more to cut off underage access to pornography — because the filters can be circumvented easily with just one click.
"It's a no-brainer for any kid," said Donna Rice Hughes, president and chairwoman of Enough Is Enough, a group that works to help parents protect children from online porn.
"From the standpoint of the new state-of-the-art search engine, [the video preview] is a really neat thing of course," Hughes said. "The flipside of that is that you've got an abundance of pornography out there."