Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to offer a new safety service, called Windows Live™ Family Safety Settings, as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to help protect families online through user education, industry cooperation and technology innovation. Family Safety Settings is being designed to go a step further than traditional parental controls and will help consumers better guard themselves and their families against online content and communications they might find inappropriate.
The service will help enhance customer safety by making family protection tools free, widely available and flexible through the Web-based Microsoft® Windows Live service, complementing related technologies from Microsoft, such as family settings to be available in Windows Vista™ that will help families customize their experience with both PC- and Web-based protection. Family Safety Settings will include content filtering for the Web, contact list management tools for communication services, and online activity reports. Service features will begin rolling out in phases worldwide throughout 2006 and will become available to customers using Windows® XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista.
Family Safety Settings is currently in limited, private beta testing in the United States. Web content filtering and reporting capabilities are expected to be available to Windows Live customers in select U.S. and international markets in early summer with added contact management functionality rolling out later this year. Those wanting more information should visit http://ideas.live.com, or sign up for the Windows Live Family Safety Settings waiting list by e-mailing email@example.com.
There’s also a press Q&A here. This is mostly as rumored with the addition of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) providing age-based guidelines. As I observed previously, say goodbye to the existing players in this niche. The real question is whether there will be a need to say hello to any antitrust watchdogs.