A few months ago Microsoft launched a Bing app for Google Android that allows users to search for images, pictures, maps, directions, news, or you know, web pages. It might seem a bit strange to use Microsoft’s search engine on an operating system designed by Google, but the Bing app actually has a really nice look and feel and competition is always a good thing.
The only problem was that at launch the Bing app was only available for Verizon Wireless customers. Now that restriction has been lifted and the Bing app is available as a free download from the Android Market for most Android phones.
Like the desktop version of the Bing search engine, the Bing app features high quality background images and search result filters such as maps, news, movies, local, and images.
One of the sections I’m most impressed by is “local.” Click on the local tab and you get a list of categories including restaurants, shopping, transportation, art& entertainment, and so on. When you click on the restaurants tab, you get a list of eateries near your location, plus icons you can tap to call the restaurant or find its position on a map.
That’s not the only location-based feature though. Click on the Movies tab and you’ll get a list of movies playing in your area. You can find descriptions, trailers, and showtimes at nearby theaters for each of those films.
All told, the Bing app offers a decent alternative to Google’s default apps, plus a few bells and whistles like a native image search app. Most of these services are also available using Bing’s mobile web page in a web browser, but the Bing apps is faster and prettier.
You can check out a few more screenshots after the break.