Microsoft has given its Bing search engine a significant refresh, introducing new social networking features including Facebook integration, “device intelligence” which automatically shapes the search results based on the type of device you’re browsing from, and a new version, Bing 2.0, for iOS devices [iTunes link]. The company has also come up with a new UI for Bing image searches, with a new set of sub-tabs for better filtering through different pictures.
It’s the mobile version which has seen perhaps the most changes, however, though bizarrely the new apps support Android and iOS but nothing for Windows Phone 7. Bing 2.0 for Apple devices gets a new UI, streamlined auto-suggestions (with restaurant booking integrated in-app with OpenTable or takeout from Grubhub), Bing Streetside (a new multi-street level panorama of a location for virtual walks through the streets complete with an overlay of business listings, street names and store fronts) and Facebook/Foursquare/Live Messenger location-based check-ins.
There are also location-based reminders – such as prompts to pick up dry-cleaning when Bing spots you’re near the store – and real-time transit updates for Boston, San Francisco and Seattle. Finally, there are non-text search options, including speech recognition and “Bing Vision” to search CDs, books and other content via photos from the iOS device’s camera.