Microsoft is unveiling a redesign of its Bing app for iPhone users in the U.S. today. The new version puts local attractions front and center in a prominent Near Me section, and the deep links into content in other apps provide users with a richer experience.
As with the old app, you can run voice searches or even find certain things while using a camera on the iPhone. But the updated app offers users more options without requiring them to enter a lot of information.
“People just don’t like typing that much on their mobile devices,” as Microsoft Bing general manager Ryan Gavin put it in an interview with VentureBeat this week.
So the new experience is less like a traditional Bing search box where you type in a query, and more like the Knowledge and Action Graph on the right side of search results on desktop — with information and buttons bringing you to specific apps
That’s no coincidence. The new version of Bing on iPhone takes full advantage of the Bing Knowledge and Action Graph, so that you can not only surface information on people, places, and things, but also get things done in other apps. For example, if you search for “alanis ironic” in the app, you can see the lyrics and watch the video for the song on YouTube, but you can also listen to the song with apps that you have installed on your phone. And if you’re looking at restaurants, you can see reviews from apps like Yelp, but you can also make reservations with OpenTable. With movies, you can buy tickets for new ones and watch older ones.
The new Bing app, then, is closer to the action- and information-rich search experience available in a Google search, whether you’re in the Google app or on Google’s website on a mobile device. Earlier this year, Google unveiled Google Now on Tap as a core feature in Android Marshmallow, and Microsoft managed to offer similar functionality in the Bing app for Android (before Marshmallow became available to the public). That’s impressive. Now Bing on iPhone is getting closer to that experience, while maintaining a more iOS-friendly look and feel.
Here’s what Bing on the iPhone looked like yesterday, by the way:
Read a blog post on the redesign here.