Microsoft's Bing adds new mobile app, map, social-media and travel features
Microsoft unveiled a slew of new mobile, local, travel and social-media features for Bing in an effort to make the search engine more competitive with search-industry leader Google.
One new feature aimed at social media fans is the option to rank search results based on what a Bing user's friends have "liked" on Facebook.
Microsoft also updated its Bing mobile apps -- for smart phones such as the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 handsets -- to enable users to make reservations using the popular OpenTable service or order takeout using Grubhub, all from within the app.
Another new location-based feature for the Bing apps are reminders that users can set to pop up on their smart phones when Bing recognizes that its near a specified business or place.
Real-time public transportation information has also been added to the Bing apps. The travel info will tell users if a bus or train is running early, on time or delayed, and the app can offer predictions for arrival times.
For now, transit routes for 11 metropolitan areas are live including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Vancouver. More cities will be added in the future.
One feature that isn't available yet, but that Microsoft said it's working on, is in-Bing-app ticket-buying for sports games and other events using a service called FanSnap.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Images: Screen shots of new Bing app restaurant check-in features on an Apple iPhone. Credit: Microsoft