Bing Comes to the iPhone

Bing has introduced an iPhone app, which depending on your point of view is either a suprise or a logical next step for the Microsoft search engine. Bing has continued to gain search share incrementally since its launch earlier this year -- though mostly at the expense of Yahoo!, AOL and others. Google has apparently not been hurt and itself continues to gain share according to comScore and Hitwise.

Overall the Bing iPhone app is very strong, especially in terms maps and local content. But you can equally use it for general mobile web search. There are a range of ways into local content: search by keyword or category, browse by category or search on the map. 

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Like the Windows Mobile Bing client app, the iPhone version offers voice search (Tellme). It worked very well for me in the several searches I conducted this evening. 

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The integrated Bing Maps offers traffic and one-click directions from any business or location. This functionality is especially nice. Overall it's a very well executed app that, in terms of its functionality and usability, and could give Google a run for its money on the iPhone. In many ways it's more elegant than Google's iPhone app. 

We've argued that to compete in mobile search Microsoft has to go where the audience is and embrace a range of mobile platforms. It must therefore uncouple Bing from Windows Mobile, which it is doing. Next the company should build an Android app. But for now take a look at the iPhone app and see what you think and whether you agree.