Microsoft on Wednesday introduced mobile browsing improvements for image search, real-time transit and directions, and app search that make the experience feel similar to an application. The features -- which tap HTML5 -- are available on smartphone browsers for Apple iOS and Android phones, but not Microsoft Windows Phone 7, which does not yet support the technology.
The latest features include directions and real-time transit information, allowing people to get updates as they wait for a bus, for example. The real-time data available in Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles augments directions already available on the Bing iPhone app, but it was not available in the browser version. Expanded directions are available for people who take public transportation, for example. Computers can click on the bus route icon for real-time information about when to expect transportation to arrive.
Microsoft also made Image Search faster, reorganized the shopping feature in the Bing mobile browser app, and provided information on movie listings and times. Bing organized movies by time and nearest theatre, along with reviews, synopsis, trailers and additional information to help decide what movie fits the mood.
Earlier in the week, Performics, the performance marketing agency owned by Publicis Groupe, released the 2011 Mobile Search Insights Study. The study reveals that 75% of users said mobile search makes their lives easier, and 63% note that access to mobile search has changed the way they gather information.
Take financial services, for example. More people have begun to access a variety of financial services on their mobile device. A report released Wednesday by comScore found that 29.8 million Americans in Q4 2010 accessed financial service accounts such as bank, credit card, or brokerage firms via their mobile device, up of 54% from the year-ago quarter.