Microsoft has revamped its mobile search offering, dropping location-based and iTunes app searching into HTML5 layouts.
On an iPhone the new version of m.bing.com includes Google-style swipe-navigation of images, with pretty zoom effects, along with a shopping interface organised by category. It's also tied into the Apple iTunes store to present pertinent applications to the search as well as content.
The new Bing isn't available for Microsoft's own Windows Phone 7 platform, however, as that doesn't support HTML5 just yet. We couldn't get it working on Android handsets either.
Microsoft's blog claims the new search will work on Android as well as iOS devices, and claims that Windows Phone 7 will support HTML5 real soon now. We've asked Redmond about the Android problem which is still showing the old version of Bing, but we trust that it's a temporary hitch as Google's platform usually supports HTML5 even if Microsoft's doesn't.
On an iPhone the new Bing looks very nice indeed, utilising the best of HTML5 to give every impression of being a local application though its inability to automatically establish one's location betrays the sandbox that still surrounds it. That's a perfectly acceptable compromise especially as Bing will happily assume one hasn't moved since the last search, unless told otherwise.
Microsoft's Bing blog lists the new features and has a demonstration video showing some of them off in typically understated style.
Application search is only mentioned briefly, but is interesting as it bypasses Apple's control over application placement by linking direct to the iTunes store. That could become important over time, but even Microsoft is going to have a challenge cutting through the morass of indifferent time-fillers that overflow from the iTunes app store these days. ®