REDMOND, Wash. — Following last week's mainstream uproar over the porn plethora search-and-view within Microsoft's new Bing, the company has announced a stop-gap filtering measure.
On the Bing blog, General Manager Mike Nichols wrote, "One important conversation going on right now is about unwanted adult video content within this feature. To start with, by default in Bing (and in Live Search before it), we do not return explicit adult content in video or image results. In Web results, we also do not include any explicit images or video content by default. 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."
All of this is true, as reported last week by AVN.com. But answering the outrage, Microsoft has responded with a temporary solution in Bing filtering that requires the user to be proactive.
"You can add “adlt=strict” to the end of a query and no matter what the settings are for that session, it will return results as if safe search was set to strict," Nichols wrote. But suggesting users place even that simple code themselves seems like asking a lot.
Nichols called it a "short-term work-around" that "should work with lots of popular firewall and safety products, as well as for larger, managed network environments." He added that the company will take additional steps so the filtering works with more partners, applications and computer tools.
As CNET noted, the big problem for many critics isn't image, but video results through Microsoft's "Smart Motion" video feature, which allows for watching bursts of clips — including porn — found in search results without heading to the actual sites.
Nichols defended the technology, writing, "The idea behind Smart Motion Previews is to give people the equivalent of a movie trailer for video results. When we crawl videos, we create short previews (never more than 30 seconds, made up of a few very short clips) that reflect what our video crawling technology thinks are the most relevant parts."
Microsoft was not available for additional comments on Bing changes.