Washington, Jun 2: Microsoft's new search engine 'Bing' may be as good as Google, but Internet safety experts have warned that there is a glitch in the engine that gives users easy access to pornographic material.
Bing went live in the United State this weekend, and bloggers and Internet safety experts discovered that one of its 'features' needed only a few clicks for anyone, of any age, to view explicit pornographic videos without even leaving the search engine.
As Microsoft attempts to unseat Google, it unveiled a slate of convenient features for Bing, including an 'autoplay' tool that lets users preview videos simply by hovering a mouse over them.
The tool may become a liability because users can have easy access to porn videos on Bing, and not have to log on to one of the porno web sites.
The glitch was noticed by technology blogger Loic Le Meur on Jun 1 after testing video search on Bing. He found the number of pornography sites that transformed the search engine into its very own pornographic Web site.
"You are now on a porn site without leaving Bing. Amazing," Fox News quoted him as writing 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, as 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.
"The flipside of that is that you've got an abundance of pornography out there," she added.
Content-filtering companies have also been reviewing Bing, and have found the same gaping problems.
"Bing.com does at this point allow users to watch pornographic videos without ever leaving the site," Forrest Collier, CEO of InternetSafety.com, said.
He said that parental filtering software, such as SafeEyes, which is produced by Collier's company, can block any explicit or unwanted search results.
Microsoft said in a statement that it was up to users to turn off the filters, and provided instructions on how to toggle the settings on its blog.
"By default, Bing filters out explicit image and video results. Consumers must take action to turn off the Safe Search filter in their settings in order for explicit image or video content to appear in Bing's results," the statement read.
Other major search engines like Yahoo and Google come up with similar video and image results when electronic filters are turned off, but they don't provide automatic playing of videos within the search-results page.