A few weeks ago we announced that in addition to the full PC care subscription service you know and love, we were also beginning to make available other free services from Windows Live OneCare, including the recent international launch of the Windows Live OneCare safety scanner and OneCare Advisor protection in Windows Live Toolbar. Well, today we have another free service to share with you!
You may remember back in March we announced that we were doing some limited beta testing on parts of a new free, online family safety service we were working on called Windows Live Family Safety Settings. Well, it has been a few months and the service has a new name and new features and is ready to begin broader public testing!! Beginning today, the new and improved Windows Live OneCare Family Safety is available in the US as public beta. While we are still in the testing and development phase, OneCare Family Safety will offer some great features to help families create a safer and enjoyable online experience
Content filtering. Web filtering will allow customers to choose allow, block or warn settings for a range of content categories, and unique settings can be applied for each member of the household. Parents can review and adjust settings anytime from any Internet-connected PC to help meet the family's evolving needs, and your family's settings will be automatically applied to any computer that has the Family Safety software installed.
Expert Guidance. Expert guidance from respected child organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics on age appropriate settings and online activities will provide valuable guidance for parents. For example, users will have access to guidelines on how to help a child use online communications safely or how parents should talk to children about inappropriate Web browsing.
Activity reports. Parents will be able to access activity reports for each user in the family, anytime from any Internet-connected PC, to help them stay informed about how their children are browsing the Web. This kind of information can help facilitate important conversations between parents and children about using the Internet in a way they feel is safe and appropriate.
Contact management. In future versions of the service, parents will be able to create "allow" lists for other Windows Live services their children might use to communicate with others – like instant messaging, for example – to help prevent their children from crossing paths with unknown contacts and instead only communicate with contacts that parents have approved.
As Windows Live OneCare is now chartered to provide simple, powerful protection for Windows Live customers through both free and subscription features and services, the addition of Family Safety to our OneCare 'family' of services is an exciting next step as we continue to improve and evolve our services to help our customers be safer and get the most out of their online experience.
The Internet offers fantastic opportunities to explore and learn, and OneCare Family Safety aims to ensure that those opportunities aren't limited due to questionable content. Microsoft is focused on improving our new OneCare Family Safety service and we hope that you will try it out and offer your thoughts on its features and usability.
And for those of you not in the US, rest assured that we know these things are important to you too... stay tuned for more information about international availability very soon!
To provide us with feedback on your testing experience with OneCare Family Safety, please go to: http://familysafety.spaces.live.com/