Yesterday, I made a little post about some of the great built in features of Windows Phone 7. On my way home I instantly realized that I left out one of the greatest features of the phone and it isn’t even a tile. It is a capacitive button on the bottom right of the front of the phone. This my friends is the search button. I will dedicate this post solely to Bing on the Windows Phone 7 because I feel bad for leaving him out yesterday and there is a lot to cover.
First, what made me realize that I had forgotten to mention it in my post yesterday was when I used it on the way home. I used Tellme as the interface for Bing because I was driving. On my way home from work I decided to fix my broken turn signal and figured while I was at it I should replace my windshield wipers. I pulled my phone out and held down the home button for Tellme. I said: “advance auto parts”. In seconds Bing shows me the closest ones, so I click on the first one for directions. Then I get my turn by turn voice directions and on the way I think “how hard is it to change the turn signal?”. So I hold down the home button again and say “change turn signal in cavalier”. In seconds Bing is showing me a list of results and the first one is exactly what I needed (I definitely got lucky in it being the exact year of cavlier even).
Bing Built In Search On WP7
There are 4 main features built into Windows Phone 7 Bing search, and they can all be accessed no matter what app you are in because there is a search button required on every WP7 device. It is the button on the bottom right just below the screen. The 4 main features of Bing on WP7 are; Local Scout, Music, Bing Vision, and Voice.
Bing Local Scout
Local Scout itself has several different features that I will get into a little bit. When you tap the search button Scout is the bottom left icon. And clicking on Scout takes you first to a section of “eat+drink” this is a list of about 20 different places to eat and drink at near your current location.
At the top of the screen is also a bing map of the locations which you can tap on to expand taking you to the full Bing maps app. You can click on any of the places and see information like; address, phone, hours, category, website, reviews, and there is also a section for apps which I believe will show you if that establishment has an app and also show you apps that are either related or have to do with location. One simple swipe to the right will take you to “see+do”.
This screen will look almost exactly the same but instead of lists it has tiles for each place. And as the name says this is things to see and/or do near your current location. When you tap on one of the items you will again get information about the location and/or reviews but you can also get times of when the event is if it is an event. And for the events there is a link for more info. Another swipe to the right brings you to “shop”.
As you can expect this is basically the same as “eat+drink” but for shopping. One thing that I will say about this (and this actually goes for all of scout but mostly shopping) is that some Malls are in Bing’s wealth of information. My girlfriend actually showed me this one day that we were out Christmas shopping. There is a mall near us where you can pull out Scout and have a map of all of the stores in the mall. Most with hours and everything on them. With one last swipe to the right you can get to “highlights”.
Highlights seems to usually have one specific place (maybe more at times) which can be a restaurant or whatever. I am not exactly sure how the highlight is picked out but I would guess maybe by reviews. Below this though is your “favorites”. Favorites are locations that you select and save. For me I have Home and Work in their currently. With this no matter where I am I can pull out my map and instantly get directions to my favorite places. Can come in handy if you take a wrong turn or are waking up late at a friends house and need directions from that side of town.
WP7 Bing Music
This feature needs very little explaining. It is an app like Shazaam. You tap on this and it will listen and detect what music you are listening to. From there you have a direct link to purchase the song and you can also always access your music history which can be nice but for me it is not something used day to day.
Bing Vision is awesome. Any phone can say “there is an app for that” but WP7 has it built in. Bing vision will scan UPC, QR, etc but it can also scan text. If you use it to scan text you can then copy the text to your clipboard or translate the text into a handful of different languages. If any of you are familiar with Frys then you can see the UPC scan is quite handy for price matching. I was shopping for a tv tuner card and with a couple of taps and a few seconds I had reviews and comparative pricing for the card I wanted.
Simply put when you tap this you speak and it translates it to text in the search box. Nice feature but pretty standard.