Hands on with a newly Bing-ified Siri: A new engine does a body good

IMG_1126As a part of Apple’s overhaul of its operating system for iPhones and iPads, Siri has gotten some brand new capabilities, including some web search help from one of Apple’s rivals in the smartphone game.

As announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in July, Bing is now powering Siri’s web search capability in iOS 7. That means the next time you ask your iPhone to show you pictures of kittens, Microsoft will be delivering the result to you.

All told, Bing’s integration with Siri helps a lot. The web search feels responsive, and Microsoft’s search engine feels robust enough that it always seemed like my test queries — including asking for images, information on famous people and information on not-so-famous people — hit their mark.

There wasn’t anything truly stand-out that made me wonder where this functionality has been all my life, but this partnership between Apple and Microsoft is a solid one, and stands to benefit both companies a great deal. Apple gets access to Bing, and gets to continue to snub Google, while Microsoft gains a legion of iOS users to use and help refine Bing’s search results.

In addition to the new tie-in with Siri, Microsoft has also released a new version of its Bing app for the iPhone with a few new features like new homepage tiles, and the ability to easily share results to Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    How ironic that Apple is using Bing for Siri since the Microsoft Surface ads use Siri’s voice to slam the iPad.

    Is that configurable? You an tell Safari to use Google or Yahoo instead, can you do the same with Siri or are you stuck using Bing?

    • Ryan Parrish

      It is configurable, yes. Bing is default in iOS7, but is easily changed in the settings.

      • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

        According to this you can’t. You can for Safari but not Siri http://searchengineland.com/with-ios-7-siri-drops-google-for-bing-172110

        • ThunderBone

          You can still say – Siri Google kittens. It will do a Google search. Just one extra word.

          • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

            Thanks yeah, I saw that in the article. I wonder if you can make it “yahoo” as well.

        • Ryan Parrish

          Huh, I thought I saw a mention after the announcement that the search provider for Siri would be configurable.

    • SilverSee

      Why don’t you give it a chance, instead of having a reactionary anti-Microsoft response?

      • Guest

        Because he’s ex MS.

      • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

        Actually this wasn’t an anti-Microsoft response, it was just a question out of curiosity.

    • Guest

      Not very. Two separate groups. Two different and logical reasons for doing what they’re doing. Everyone is partnering and competing with everyone these days. It’s only ironic to those who are naïve.

      • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

        Sure generally I agree with you. What I find surprising here is how the Surface ads are directly targeting Siri in a negative way.

        To a degree, to your point, it underscores how much the Apple – Google relationship has soured, that they’d keep with Microsoft here even in the face of that.

        • Ryan Parrish

          I don’t think they take Microsoft’s competition seriously. And if you look at market share and revenue in mobile devices and platforms I can certainly see why.

        • Guest

          Oh please, it’s simply poking fun at iPad using Siri, just like Apple poked fun at Windows.

          What part of Jobs saying “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong” and “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”, confused you about how the relationship had already soured? And again, you’re making way too big a deal about this. Apple is getting paid a lot of money to use Bing. It also has the potential to take some profit away from Google, which they correctly view as their main competition. They likely couldn’t care less about MS doing parody videos for a product that hasn’t sold well. The sad fact for MS is that Apple just isn’t worried about them competitively anymore.

          • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

            I hadn’t seen that Bing was paying them, is there a link?

            I don’t disagree on your points about Google, though it has been a while and so had forgotten the Jobs quote so thanks for that.