Update: My fellow editor Pradeep, has obtained more information about when these Bing updates will appear on WP7 which should ease any of our readers concerns. At least that did it for me.
The Bing search engine received a major fall update that brought new features and upgrades across the entire service from the desktop to mobile devices.Â During the Bing search summit in San Francisco, Microsoft also announced some huge improvements to the iPhone and Android apps, but somehow never mentioned anything abound Windows Phone 7! Sadly, the iPhone Bing app, even before this update, was more robust than the one found on WP7 and this update widens the gap even further. From all the accounts, I have read nothing was ever said about when WP7 would be receiving such an update. This is atrocious (for the lack of a better word) public relations on Microsoftâ€™s part. I know I know,Â these upgrades will finally show up on WP7 but, at least give users on your own platform the courtesy of a timeline when you expect that to happen!
Please watch the three videos on their blog to see demos of some of these features and I bet, you will be screaming at the screen by the time you get to the third one wondering why donâ€™t we have these on WP7 yet? The search engine land blog also has a completeÂ summary of Bing fall updates which span more than just mobile devices.
Here is a list of the updates for the iPhone and Android
- Streamlined Homepage: The homepage has received a facelift with an enriched layout and design for easier navigation and feature discoverability
- Find the Perfect Restaurant: Autosuggest got a boost, allowing you to refine searches on the fly. With a tap of the finger, you can easily find the perfect restaurant with the cuisine, price, location and atmosphere you want.
- Search, Find, Decide and Book: Once youâ€™ve decided where you want to go, finalize plans by reserving a table on OpenTable or order takeout from Grubhub â€“ without leaving the Bing app.
- See Before You Go: Familiarize yourself with a location before you go, using Bing Streetside. Streetside, a new mobile mapping feature, provides a multi-street level panorama of a location so you can take a virtual walk through the streets with a view of a locations and landmarks. As you slide the street level imagery sideways, the view of the sidewalk is seamlessly constructed including an overlay of business listings, street names and store fronts.
- Checkâ€“In: When you get to your destination, check-in with Bing and simultaneously update your Facebook, Foursquare and Windows Live Messenger status.
- Go Social with your Plans: Looking to plan a last-minute meet-up or happy hour? The new â€œPlanâ€ feature lets you share local search results directly to your Facebook Wall, and plan a night based on the â€œlikesâ€ and comments of your friends.
- Never Miss the Bus: Weâ€™ve added a real-time transit updates for Boston, San Francisco and Seattle, so you never miss the bus again (more cities to come). Real-time transit shows if a bus is on schedule, early or delayed, with predictions for arrival times. Standard transit routes for 11 cities are also live including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, and Vancouver BC with more to come.
- Voice Search: Voice search, powered by Microsoft TellMe, is faster than before and allows you to fine-tune your existing search using your voice, without having to repeat the entire search. Tips and hints have also been added, providing helpful information on how best to use voice search to complete tasks.
- See it? Search it!: â€œBing Visionâ€ lets you search using your phoneâ€™s camera. Bring an object into view and Bing will detect text and present a tool to select words for a search. If the object has a barcode, Bing will instantly return product results. Bing Vision can detect product information from UPC codes and cover art for books, CD, DVDs and video games.
- Whatâ€™s Nearby: Bing will automatically detect â€œwhatâ€™s nearbyâ€ and present dynamic and full category search pages.
- Bookmark Images: We know how much you love Bing images, and now you can bookmark any image result from the Web to the device.
- Expand Your Search: The Search Widget allows you to search third party apps (e.g. Yelp), in addition to contacts, apps, audio files and the Web. (Only apps with registered data can be surfaced in search results.)
- Search, Share, Decide and Book: To make planning a night out easier, share search results with friends using any loaded app that can accept and share content by using the â€œshareâ€ command. And, with the integration of OpenTable and GrubHub into the Bing for Mobile search results, you can make reservations or order take out â€“ without switching between apps.
This news, together with the previous one about the next big update for WP7 not coming until the fall of next year, has left me puzzled about Microsoftâ€™s strategy when it comes to WP7. How are they able to make constant improvements on other platforms, in this case the iPhone Bing app, while taking several months to bringÂ anything new to their own? What I despise dislike the most, is the lack of one person from the company, who would be in charge of giving their loyal base timely updates on the state of the product, so that we donâ€™t have to rely on anonymous sources and speculations on what to expect. It is not that these updates have to happen right now (although that would be awesome), the lack of official information is what is disconcerting.