Searching the web on mobile is a different experience than searching through a desktop browser. On a desktop, you might want to read the entire James Bond Wikipedia page. But when you’re on mobile, you’re looking for quick bites of information, like who plays Moneypenny or what time the next showing is at your local theater.
Microsoft realized this when building the overhauled Bing app for iOS. The new app, released today, can open apps like Netflix, Yelp or Uber, jumping you right into the content or information you were looking for, and surfaces relevant info presented right on the search page.
Going back to the James Bond idea, if a user searches for Spectre, the top of the search shows the movie poster and a trailer for the film, followed by the Rotten Tomatoes score and a quick synopsis. Below that are the showtimes, followed by likes to ticket-buying apps. And if the user is looking for an older Bond movie, they’ll see a list of apps that can play the movie instead, like Netflix or Amazon Video.
Microsoft is trying to find everything you’d need from within one app, making it worthwhile for users to open their app instead of just heading to their browser (where Google may be the default search engine) or even just Spotlight search on iOS.
The new Bing app doesn’t have Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, which it started testing on iOS earlier this month. However, Microsoft envisions Cortana as a pure assistant, not something to be regaled to a search app.
“We really do think of Cortana as your digital personal assistant,” Ryan Gavin, Microsoft’s general manager of search, told The Verge. “Reaching into search, and reaching into Bing to provide great answers to questions, that’s a big part of her promise, but it’s certainly not her only promise.”
The Bing app for iPhone is free and available now on the app store. Users of the old Bing app should already have access to the updated version now.