While Bing has been known to power the search on some Android phones in the past, this is the first time an honest to goodness app has been available for Microsoft’s little search that could. Like Skype before it the Bing app is only available for Verizon customers and there is no word on Microsoft on where or if that will change.
At first glance the app has taken quite a few cues from the standard Bing website. When you launch the app you are looking at a scaled down version of the “image of the day” with a search box and search categories. The image of the day has a number of little boxes that you can click on which will display little bits of trivia about the image, not exactly mission critical for search, but an entertaining feature nonetheless.
The search box itself functions exactly as the Google search box that you are familiar with and the mic next to it predictably offers voice search. The voice search will provide contextual results so to use Microsoft’s example if you say “movies” it will display movie listings for your local theaters. Similar contextual results can be had for flight information, traffic, weather, news, and hotels. My limited testing of the app so far has produced accurate and quick results with the voice search.
The local category brings up a search for a variety of categories including restaurants, shopping & services, nightlight, hotels & accommodations, transportation, arts & entertainment, government & community, and health & fitness.
The image search offers endless scrolling which is definitely a nice feature although on my 3G connection the refresh rate was a little slower than I would have liked. Other than
The mapping functionality again mirrors what is available on the standard Bing site and will track your location just as Google Maps does. You can search your current map for different categories of locations and then choose either walking or driving directions which you can swipe through step by step. The map can also display current traffic conditions in your area, although I wasn’t able to test the accuracy of that function.
The news category allows for a general search of all news sources, but by default pulls up a list of current stories from across a variety of topics including U.S., world, local, business, entertainment, politics, sports, science and technology, health, and more.
Finally there is a Bing widget with a text box and voice search allowing for web, application, and contact search.
The Bing app has nice visuals and handles a variety of services without ever departing the app, but in all I don’t see any reason for non-Verizon customers to be too bent out of shape for not getting access to this one as for the most part it is simply a repackaging of functionality you already have on your device. If you are on Verizon and want to take it for a spin yourself just hit up the QR code.