Microsoft adds new Bing social features for iOS, Android and RIM devices

Microsoft is adding new social-search features to Bing for users with Apple iOS, Android and RIM devices company officials said on June 8.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is adding new social-search features to Bing for users with Apple iOS, Android and RIM devices company officials said on June 8.

What about us Windows Phone 7 users? (Yep, in spite of all my whining about updates, handsets and more, I bought an HTC Trophy 7 Windows Phone from Verizon last week.)

Windows Phone 7 users do not get any of the new social features yet because the current version of Internet Explorer on our phones isn't yet HTML5-compliant. Microsoft has said it will be bringing an HTML version of Internet Explorer (IE 9 Mobile) to Windows Phones this fall when the "Mango" operating system update begins rolling out.

What do smartphone users with HTML5-capable browsers get with this update? Bing for Mobile Browse's new updates include improved sharing on Facebook, easier news access, a cleaner view for local listings and directions, the ability to better reference past searches and view trending topics. The new Facebook sharing option is for iOS devices only. Microsoft also launched Bing for Mobile browse in the UK. Users who go to http://m.bing.com/ will see "a redesigned homepage, enhanced local listings, autosuggest, image search, and driving and walking directions (and real-time transit in London)," according to Microsoft's blog post.

On the Windows Phone front, Microsoft is continuing to work on Mango, the Windows Phone operating system update expected to be released to handset makers and carriers this summer. Microsoft has been trickling out some more information about the promised 500 new Mango features via various blog posts in the past couple of weeks.

Microsoft is making some nice-to-have tweaks to the Music + Videos hub with Mango. It is adding built-in song recognition enabling music search via Bing. And it is making SkyDrive integration more useful and understandable. (More information on SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service, will be in my next post.)

Microsoft also is promising it will make more services -- like ZunePass (its music-subscription service), voice-activated search and other capabilities already usable by Windows Phone users in the U.S.--  available to users in additional countries in the coming months. (Andrew Birch has created a handy Windows Phone service availability matrix -- updated for the coming Mango release -- that makes it clear just how far Microsoft has to go to provide all of its Windows Phone services to users in all countries.)

One more handy site worth checking out: Mobiletechworld.com is providing an updated list of all of the Mango features, as they're unveiled.

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