Bing iOS4 update brings new features, but isn’t optimized for iPhone 4

Jun 26, 2010
Tech

Microsoft’s Bing is holding its own alongside search engine giants Yahoo! and Google, and is now included as default option in mobile Safari. However, the free Bing app, despite its recent update for iOS4, is still sitting in middle-of-the-road territory—not much of an overall change since I reviewed the product back in December. Bing has […]

Microsoft’s Bing is holding its own alongside search engine giants Yahoo! and Google, and is now included as default option in mobile Safari. However, the free Bing app, despite its recent update for iOS4, is still sitting in middle-of-the-road territory—not much of an overall change since I reviewed the product back in December.

Bing has made strides to stay current, however; despite how great the homepage photos and text look, not all of Bing’s icons are retina display-worthy yet, an issue that is extremely noticeable when other parts of the app are so crisp. Bing’s map is pixel-y, and while it offers fast rendering, so does the iOS4 update to the proprietary Maps app. Bing’s map lacks walking and public transit directions, so urban dwellers would be better off  sticking with Google Maps. Bing’s design changes also altered its once-slick homepage icon grid into text, which users will have to scroll across to see in its entirety. You can use Bing with multitasking, however the app doesn’t really implement fast-app switching as the Bing splash page displays for a moment upon each switch.

The addition of camera scanning of barcodes and cover art to quickly search for products is a nice feature — when it works. Hovering your camera over bar codes or ISBNs automatically scans the product. Or, you can tap the screen to take a photo of a book, CD, DVD or video game cover. The app then automatically searches for matching product results. I had decent luck finding results for a barcode scan; but when I tried to use the cover art search, despite the image lining up correctly in my screen, the app continually cut off the top portion of the photo. This led to zero results for “Super Mario Galaxy 2,” for instance. I couldn’t find a way to delete these images (they create clutter), but at least they only appear in the Bing app and not your camera roll.

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Another notable addition to Bing is the integration with Twitter and Facebook. By connecting your accounts in the “Social” tab, you can sync up to the past six months of content from your Twitter and Facebook feeds, which will then be included in your Bing search results.

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