Microsoft said today it will integrate free parental controls into its Windows Live online service in a program called Windows Live Family Safety Settings.
The service is scheduled to start this summer and roll out over the year. It's expected to eventually include content filtering for Web sites, online activity reports and control over permissible contacts in the Windows Live e-mail, messenger and blogging features. Previously, Microsoft offered parental controls in its MSN Premium service at a monthly cost of $10.
Note that Microsoft isn't using the term "parental controls" for its service, and that's intentional, according to Alan Packer, a product manager working on the service.
"Everyone knows what parental controls means, but no one likes the term," he said. "Customers would say, 'I don't want to control my kid, block them or spy on them.' "