Microsoft's Bing updates for Windows Phone: Who gets what, when

Microsoft's Bing updates for Windows Phone: Who gets what, when

Summary: Microsoft is giving its search experience on Windows Phone 8 devices an overhaul. Here are more details on how and when Microsoft will be delivering these updates.


Microsoft is rolling out a set of user interface and feature updates to Bing on Windows Phone 8. But the details as to who would get them and how were rather slim in Microsoft's August 6 blog posts announcing the rollout.


Word of the new updates began trickling out late last week. The current four categories of Bing search results on Windows Phone 8 -- Web, Local, Media and Shopping -- are being changed to Web, Images and Videos. Images and videos won't be loaded automatically in order to save bandwidth; they'll only load when users swipe over them.

The revamp also includes the introduction of Instant Answers to Windows Phone. To start off, Microsoft will be pushing ten of the Instant Answers available already on Bing on PCs to Windows Phones. The first ten include answers on queries involving traffic, flight status, exchange rates, word definitions and translations. Answers on these topics will appear at the top of the Web results. Twenty more categories of Instant Answers will be coming later, the blog post said. Microsoft also is bringing its Bing "Snapshot" feature to Windows Phone, too, as part of the Bing updates for Windows Phone.

These Bing updates are going to show up automatically on Windows Phone 8 devices in the U.S. "in the coming weeks." These updates will not be blocked or slowed by carriers, a Microsoft spokesperson said when I asked. Nor will they be dependent on the delivery of any Windows Phone OS updates (like GDR2, which is slowly being rolled out worldwide), the spokesperson confirmed. The updates are coming from Microsoft to users' Windows Phone 8 devices directly, the spokesperson said.

All international markets currently supported by Windows Phone will be getting the Bing updates "in the coming months," a spokesperson also confirmed.

There's no mention in Microsoft's blog posts about these updates coming to Windows Phone 7.x users. But Microsoft officials blogged that they already delivered similar functionality to Android-based phone and iPhone users via updates to the Bing apps on those platforms.

Update: Microsoft released a minor update to Skype for Windows Phone 8 on August 6. Included in the new 2.9 update is the ability to separate out Windows Phone and Skype contacts,

Topics: Windows Phone, Android, iPhone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Local dropped

    it's too bad they dropped local. That has been a very helpful part of the Bing experience on the phone.
    • Disappointed

      I am trying to the new update but miss the Local pivot. I enjoyed being able to just look at local results without having to go through web results as well.
      • Still Available

        The local features are being integrated into the Web results, so they are still available. I agree though, I liked having that as a separate tab. I used it a lot!

        The additions sound great though.
    • Wrong

      Local is still there (it's content is just added to the Web tab).
  • Wait. iOS and Android already received the updates?

    "But Microsoft officials blogged that they already delivered similar functionality to Android-based phone and iPhone users via updates to the Bing apps on those platforms."

    So... Why are they delivering Bing updates to other platforms before delivering on their own?

    And here's an idea, rather than relying on carriers to push out the GDR updates, how about making them available for download from Microsoft's site?
  • Instant answer request:

    Unit conversions, please! Bing already does it so I shouldn't need a specific app for that.
    • Seems to work for me

      Typing "4 km in miles" or "2 fl oz in ml" (into Bing on my Lumia 920) gave me answers. It looks like I already have the new stuff - I don't see "Local" anymore.
  • Where's LOCAL?

    I took a trip this weekend and noticed LOCAL was gone. I completely missed this seldom used feature. I had to install Yelp. Is that their goal, force me to use an app??
    • Still There

      The local results are integrated into the web results. I really liked that feature as well.
      • not the same

        it's hard to tell what a web result is vs a local result. I just searched on "restaurant" here are the results:
        Wikipedia page
        some app suggestions
        thee local restaurants
        and a dozen more generic web pages that have noting to do with LOCAL
        • try Local Scout if you know you want local results

          better information for a generic query like restaurant, for a specific one like 'coffee' you don't have to swipe so it's faster
  • Gah, why get rid of local and shopping?

    Both serve a purpose that isn't really covered in the new results offerings. Bad move.
  • News

    I don't get news results any more.
    A "news" tab would be more than welcome to me.
  • Any Word On Canada Release?