REDMOND, Wash.—Microsoft has released its latest “Bing for mobile” offering—an iPhone application—and the immediate reviews are quite positive despite some initial bugs the company is already addressing.
The application, which is also available for Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Sidekick and select BREW-based devices on Verizon, features voice-activated search, maps, directions, news, business and movie listings. Change the default setting, and it also returns results for adult content. It’s Bing, after all.
Key features include:
* Daily images from Bing.com
* Easy access to voice search
* Tips and tricks on the home page
* "Locate Me" functionality
* Ability to add pushpins and save locations
* Shows multiple locations on a single map
“Bing's app is the best general search app for the iPhone,” reports PCmag.com. “It does more inside the app without launching other programs, it adds a new type of image search, and it feels more cohesive. But because it is ultimately a front end to a search engine, and we have not given an Editor's Choice award for search engines, we can't declare this (or any search app) our Editor's Choice. Let's just say that we really like the desktop version of Bing, and we like this app, too.”
Over at TechCrunch, the emphasis was on the apps seeming acquiescence to porn. “Since the dawn of Bing, it’s been exceptionally good at one thing: Finding porn. Its new iPhone app, which launched tonight in the App Store, is no different,” writes MG Siegler. “By default, the app has a Safe Search setting of ‘Moderate.’ Searching for ‘porn’ this way yields several promising results. However, with just two clicks, any kids can turn off safe search and off they go! The porn results are nothing, if not impressive.” That said, Siegler concludes that the app is “actually quite nice.”
Despite the generally positive reviews, a few initial glitches remain, which Bing engineers are swiftly addressing.
“The response so far to the Bing app for iPhone has been incredible,” Kristin wrote to the Bing blog Thursday. “We are excited by the strong customer response and download traffic! However, we’ve also heard about a couple of issues that we’d like to address:
“Using voice search outside the U.S. crashes the app. We’ve identified that the issue relates to the region the phone is set to. We’re working on a fix for this right now, and we’ll update the app in the next few days. People will get the update automatically – you won’t have to update or reinstall the app. If you are encountering this issue you can temporarily work around it by going to Settings > General > International and change your Region Format to ‘United States.’
“App doesn’t work on 1st generation iPod Touch. The Bing app officially supports 2nd generation iPod Touch devices, but we’re in the process of testing those 1st generation devices as well. We’ll announce support for that as soon as testing is complete.
“No search results outside the U.S. At this time Bing is only fully supported on the iPhone for the US; in some regions people may not be seeing results at all. While there was a brief period of which the Bing iPhone app was being offered in international markets at this time international availability has been suspended. We would like to apologize for the inconvenience and we hope to expand our support and availability of the app in other regions in future versions of the Bing app for the iPhone. If you are in the US or if you are encountering this issue and or you are looking for a temporarily work around go to Settings > General > International and change your Region Format to ‘United States.’”