Those who want a little less Google on their iPhones will soon be able to put a lot more Bing on their handsets. Microsoft is prepping a Bing iPhone app for immediate release via Apple's App Store to give iPhone users a Google alternative.
Like Google's Mobile app, the Bing application is a free App Store download, and acts as a gateway to Bing's Web search and other services. It maintains the Bing Web site's look and feel, with text laid atop a colorful background image, but using simplified menu options for navigation. Microsoft is set to make the announcement via its Behind Bing blog Tuesday night.
Users will be able to get turn-by-turn directions with Bing Maps, along with traffic information. The focus is on local results in other areas as well, with movie listings, weather and local businesses. Omitted from the app's home page is Bing Shopping. It's not clear whether Streetside, a feature of the Bing Maps Beta akin to Google's Street View, will make the leap.
Of course, the app can be used to search the Web, read the news, and look up recent and favorite searches. Matching Google's app, Bing also lets users search the Web by voice.
Other features include the ability to open multiple tabs within the Bing application, pushpins for saving locations and multiple locations shown on a single map.
iPhone Becomes a Bit Less Google-Centric
Much of the iPhone experience remains dominated by Google. It's the default search engine for the iPhone's default browser - Safari. Google Maps powers locations and directions for the iPhone and YouTube provides entertainment. As it stands, the iPhone limits the default search engine to either Google or Yahoo. Bing loyalists have been forced to type in Bing.com to conduct a Bing search.
For some time Microsoft has tried to muscle onto the iPhone. In August Microsoft app developers made it possible for third-party iPhone app developers to integrate Bing into their offerings by providing a software developers kit (SDK). That would allow app developers to create iPhone application that searched Bing for Web information, images, videos, news and phonebook results.
A Bing Mobile app is already available for Blackberry, Windows Mobile, BREW and Sidekick phones. Look for a full review of the Bing iPhone app in PC World's App Guide soon.