Scan Barcodes and Browse Your Social Stream with Bing for iPhone

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On the heels of Bing being added as a search provider for Safari 5 and the iPhone, the Bing team has been busy putting the finishing touches on the latest Bing app for the iPhone. Two of the coolest features introduced in the new version of the Bing application is a RedLaser-like feature that allows you to scan barcodes and the second which revolves around your social stream on Facebook and Twitter. I will briefly go over these two features using the screenshots below.

If you know of other great Bing tips for the iPhone, please post them below.

Note: I used an iPhone 4 running iOS4 for the screenshots below.

Browse and Include Your Social Stream in Bing Searches

When you first launch the Bing application you will notice that the menu below includes a Social link. When you tap on the link for the first time, you will be asked to connect the Bing application with your Facebook and Twitter applications (see below). Enter your credentials for the services you wish to include and return to the Home screen for the Bing app.

social-stream-facebook-twitter-connection

When you tap on Social again, you will be greeted with a stream of information from your social networks. I see this as a great way to quickly find out what the latest status updates or Tweets are without having to open two separate applications (see below).

social-stream

Another feature you will find interesting when connecting your social stream to the Bing app is that search results will include your social stream if there is something relevant to the search you are performing. However, I performed several searches and found that the social stream did not appear in any of the search results.

Snap Barcodes and Book Covers to Find Prices Online

The second feature I mentioned, which pretty much obsoletes RedLaser and similar iPhone apps is the Camera link on Bing’s Home page. When you tap on the Camera link the Bing app will open the camera and allow you to take pictures of barcodes and of objects so that a search can be performed.

In the example below I took a picture of both the barcode and the cover of "Wealth of Nations" to see how accurate the scanning was.

Barcode Scan

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When scanning barcodes, the app will automatically detect the barcode and perform a search.

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Once the search is completed, you will be presented with a results list which will then lead you to a shopping site or information about the item you scanned.

Cover of book

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When taking pictures of an object like a book, make sure you hold the camera steady. The better the image, the greater the chances are that you will find what you are look for. Simply tap on the screen to snap the picture.

bing-cover-snap-results

Once the search is completed, you will be presented with a results list which will then lead you to a shopping site or information about the item you snapped a picture of.

These two features coupled with other search enhancements in the  Bing app have really improved the how we search on mobile devices.

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