Even though Google search is obviously King of the search pile, Bing is still standing and surprising a scrappy little guy. Its iOS app has some great features you should know about as well.
When you launch it the first time, Bing will prompt you to turn on location services and to Accept the License and Terms for the Location Services and Microsoft Data collection. This might annoy some users, but having in mind there are a ton of other apps out there that demand to collect location data, it’s fine to let this one go.
Starting off with Bing Vision, we have three different types of scanning options – we can do a text search, cover search and barcode scanning. And yes, you read that right – barcode scanning supports Microsoft Tags as well, which kind of makes you wonder why a separate standalone Microsoft Tag app was created in the first place…
Anyway, barcode scanning has worked very well in all my testing. The only downside I found was that sometimes it takes a little longer for the barcode, QR Code or tag to be recognized however only by half a second or so. Not bad.
Cover search works acceptably well too. I tried scanning the cover of DiRT 3 for PC and a few times it came up with DiRT 3 for PS3, which kind of baffled me. On my third or fourth try however, I was finally able to get Bing to show the game for PC as a top result.
Last but not least, text search is an innovative idea which would have been great if it worked a little better. The idea here is that you can shoot a picture of any text with the camera and then have Bing analyze it — allowing you to search by tapping the word on the image instead of wasting time typing it in manually. I snapped a photo of a section of our website and things would have been great if groovyPost wasn’t recognized as “GROOVYP0ST” (notice the zero):
Apart from the built-in scanning capabilities, Bing for iOS also comes with Bing voice search. It uses the same Microsoft Tellme technology used in Windows Phone devices. I experimented with voice search and I found that in some cases it is even more speedy and accurate than Siri itself.
The voice recognition works brilliantly even in a very noisy environment. What I like most about the feature is that it works just like a regular search in terms of the final results that you get. For example, notice how Bing gave me images as well as webpage results when I tried searching for Lion Family: