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Microsoft updates Bing iPhone app

New 2.0 version released this week sports a redesigned home page, better voice search, and an auto-suggest feature to help you tweak your searches on the fly.

Microsoft launched Bing 2.0 for the iPhone this week with a host of new and revamped features for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users.


Right off the bat, the home page appears cleaner and friendlier. Bing now lists the different search categories one under the other rather than grouped at the bottom, so you can more easily see and tap on the category you want.

Mobile Bing's voice search has been enhanced. Powered by Microsoft Tellme, the voice search is now quicker and lets you narrow your search without having to repeat the entire phrase. Microsoft also provides some easily-accessible examples and tips to help you better search by voice.

Bing's auto-suggest feature can now help you refine certain searches on the fly. As examples, searching for "restaurants in New York City" lets you narrow the search by name, cuisine, price, or description, while searching for "movies in New York City" lets you specify the name of a specific movie or theater.

Bing Vision lets you snap a photo of a product, either its front cover or bar code, and then provide search results. But it goes a step further by analyzing and running a search on actual text within a photo. For example, I snapped a picture of a Borders coupon, and Bing showed me a list of Borders bookstores in my area.

Another new feature is the Streetside viewer. Borrowing a page from Google's StreetView, the Bing version takes you on a photographic tour of certain streets and locations. Along with Streetside, Microsoft is promising a new panorama view with a more immersive virtual tour, but that feature apparently wasn't ready in time for Bing 2.0.

The latest features and enhancements to Bing for the iPhone are part of Microsoft's ongoing effort to beef up Bing and make it more user-friendly, both on the desktop and on the phone.