Microsoft has updated its iPhone and Android apps to make them more consistent with the features and user experience in the HTML5 version of Bing. The HTML5 mobile web version of Bing had actually “gotten ahead” of the native apps that Microsoft had developed.
The upgraded Bing app is an interesting hybrid approach as Microsoft seeks to leverage the capabilities of the handset but also make the app work across platforms in a consistent way:
Rather than tightly binding functions into a mobile client, we want to embrace the drive towards exposing our functions via an HTML5 experience. In order for search to advance, engines need to be able to call functions that are currently ‘hiding’ in apps so we can better help people get done what they are trying to get done.
Using HTML5, our goal is to build a mobile experience that leverages the unique capabilities of the different platforms including camera support and voice search, while making the functions the apps can provide consistent across the platforms and – in the future – callable by engines to help people get from searching to doing.
The benefit for Microsoft here is that new features and functions can be added on the back end to these native apps without requiring the user to download an entirely new update. Some of the new features include:
- Daily deals (already part of the HTML5 version)
- Search with integrated Facebook Likes
- Indoor/venue maps
- An improved version of the “Bing Vision” visual search capability