The Bing team has always had a strange relationship at Microsoft. On one hand, they want to gain market share as a search engine, on the other, they want to integrate with other Microsoft products. In the past, many of the Bing apps on non-Microsoft platforms really took priority. For example, Bing on the iPhone was once much better than Bing on Windows Phone and experiences often differ greatly between platforms. Then there was a very nice Bing for iPad app long before there was anything for Windows Tablets, and to this day Bing on iPad still has a few features more than Bing on Windows 8.
So now we hear that Apple’s iOS 7 will integrate Bing search results with the speech interface app called Siri. Windows Phone’s speech UI already does that, kind of. If you activate Windows Phone’s speech UI by holding the Windows logo button or pressing the voice dialing button on a Bluetooth device, you can search Bing by saying “Find” followed by your search terms, or if it just doesn’t recognize any other commands, it will search on Bing. The problem is that the Speech UI for Bing on Windows Phone doesn’t really talk back to you. It just loads search results on the screen, which is kind of counter-intuitive for a speech UI. It should talk back to me when I ask a question! Siri, on the other hand, often does respond to voice commands with speech-based responses.
Currently, Siri on iOS 7 is only in beta (you can see our hands-on here) and it seems to only return a list of web results along with a “I found this for you.” sentence spoken aloud. That’s not a whole lot different than what Windows Phone 7 originally did. Windows Phone 8 still doesn’t let me know it found anything when doing a search via voice, but the results are a little more well-organized with swipe-able tabs for web results, local search, media (pictures/videos) as well as shopping results.
Still it’s possible for Apple to make better use of those results within Siri if they integrate it well enough. Then again, we have yet to see what Bing search related enhancements may come to Windows Phone 8.1 other than yesterday’s voice recognition speed increase which will most likely come to iOS 7 as well. What do you think? Will Apple’s Siri-based Bing search be better than Windows Phone’s Bing search?