An interesting blog post on the Bing blog yesterday has some pretty interesting things to say about video search in particular and search technology in general. First, Bing’s approach to indexing videos is unique and very well. I like the Smart Motion Previews feature and if you haven’t played around with it I’d recommend that you conduct a couple of videos searches and preview the videos. The downside is that the videos run in thumbnail so you don’t get a lot of detail, but the upside is it’s a unique approach to allowing searchers an opportunity to preview a video before deciding to click the link and watch it. That’s a very helpful feature and if Bing can assure searchers that clicking the links to watch videos is safe and that no malicious software will be downloaded in the process, they’ll go a long way to securing a segment of the search market.
But let’s move on to another development that I think is out-of-this-world smart. Bing’s default setting on SafeSearch is strict, which means that a searcher doesn’t have to do anything to filter out adult content. That’s a completely different approach that what Google has historically done. Bing’s referring to this a “conservative” approach is an obvious appeal to a segment of the search population that identifies itself as conservative.
But here’s the whammy:
In particular some folks who manage corporate networks have asked for tools now to enforce SafeSearch settings at the network level.
Bing’s work around for network people is to add a phrase at the end of a search query to filter out adult content. But that’s not a perfect solution. The fact that Bing has mentioned this on its blog tells me that a real solution for network administrators is forthcoming. Will Bing attempt to establish a search relationship with corporate network managers? Microsoft has done this in the past with its other products so it’s not out of the question for the company to approach in that manner. If this is Microsoft’s plan and it manages to convince the U.S. government to program all of its computers to block all search engines except Bing on network computers then Microsoft will no doubt position itself to become the No. 2 search engine rather quickly. Microsoft rose to prominence in the 1990s precisely because the U.S. government, and its corporate partners, chose Windows as their organizational operating system. That practically standardized the entire culture of computer networks at the corporate level. Is the plan for Bing to do the same thing with search?