Bing rolls out huge online and mobile updates


Microsoft said on Wednesday that it plans to introduce a number of key enhancements to Bing online and Bing mobile apps.

The software giant held a Bing Search event in San Francisco on Wednesday to detail the improvements. Microsoft plans to roll out the features gradually over the coming month.

Search Engine Land has posted the full details of the updates:

Bing maps:

* Bing Maps will feature stronger differentiation and contrast between major and minor city streets so streets “pop” out more
* Venue maps provide detailed maps and directories of venues, such as shopping malls, airports, museums and college campuses, within Bing Maps.
* Improved Landmark Listings: Users now get contact information, related businesses, and landmark details immediately from the search for a landmark.
* Transit Routing: Transit directions will be available for the AJAX experience. Users can choose their desired departure time and choose among multiple routes with similar travel time. The initial cities in the release are: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Newark Metro Area, New York Metro Area, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver BC, and Washington DC.
* Map Interface: The new experience allows rich features to be more accessible by all users. In this release, the Map Apps button and Gallery can be viewed in the (AJAX) site – once a Map App is opened, users without Silverlight will be shown how to download Silverlight to access Map Apps.
* Map App Search: Adds a search box to find map apps within the app gallery.
* The left-rail of the AJAX site will now guide users to some of Bing Maps’ key features – directions, traffic, business lookup, and map apps – and helps map apps to be more discoverable within the core experience.

Mobile (iPhone):

* Autosuggest: Bing intelligently narrows and refines restaurant and movie searches by suggesting query strings to help people plan the perfect night out.
* Bing Vision: Bring an object into the [camera] viewfinder, hold it still and Bing will detect text and present a highlighter tool to select words for a search. If the object has a barcode, Bing will instantly return product results. Search for a nearby business listing by pointing your camera at a landmark.
* Check-in: Share your current location with friends and family via Facebook, foursquare or Windows Live Activity Stream.
* iPhone Apps: Surfaces iPhone apps in search results, when relevant.
* Plans: From the Bing homepage or a local search result, people can plan a night out and share the plan with friends via Facebook, who can comment or join the plan.
* Opentable and Grubhub integration: With the integration of Opentable and Grubhub into Bing for Mobile, once you find your restaurant of choice, you can reserve a table on OpenTable or order takeout from Grubhub without leaving the Bing app.
* Real-Time Transit Predictions: Real-time updates for Boston, San Francisco and Seattle allow commuters to see if transit options are on schedule, early or delayed, with predictions for arrival times.
* Reminders: Create a “to-do” list and set reminders to receive alerts when near a specific location.
* Enhanced StreetSide: Helps people orient themselves in unfamiliar places by stitching together and panning across street-level imagery of businesses, addresses or landmarks.

Mobile (Android):

* Search Widget: expands beyond the ability to search contacts, apps, audio files or the Web and includes ability to search third party apps that register to be searchable.
* Share Command: Share content with friends using any loaded app that can accept and share content (images, URLs, etc.).
* Opentable and Grubhub integration: With the integration of Opentable and Grubhub into Bing for Mobile, you can reserve a table on OpenTable or order takeout from Grubhub without leaving the Bing app.

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