The move to HTML5 was never in doubt for major search engines like Microsoft Bing and today Microsoft proved that announcing a new Bing for Mobile apps update using HTML5 that "blends the mobile browser experience with the app experience".
"Using HTML5, our goal is to build a mobile experience that leverages the unique capabilities of the different platforms including camera support and voice search, while making the functions the apps can provide consistent across the platforms and – in the future – callable by engines to help people get from searching to doing," said Santanu Basu, Product Manager, Bing for Mobile in a blog post today.
"Rather than tightly binding functions into a mobile client, we want to embrace the drive towards exposing our functions via an HTML5 experience," Basu said. He also indicated that in order for search to advance search engines needed access to functions that you can only get in apps right now.
HTML5 at the Core
The difference this time, according to Ryan Kim at GigaOm, is that HTML5 is at the core of the Bing Mobile offering, allowing the new mobile search engine technology “…to tap specific hardware features on each device so users will be able to take advantage of services such as Bing Vision and voice search."
Truth be told, Microsoft’s been updating its Bing offering with HTML5-powered improvements for quite some time. Back in March, Microsoft improved the Bing Search Engine App with better and faster image search, real-time transit and directions, app search for the iPhone, and more, based on HTML5 improvements.
Integrates Web Services
Microsoft senior director of Bing, Stefan Weitz, said HTML5 helps the software integrate services, like online ticketing for mobile devices, better. “We think it’s an interesting model to think about how to expose the things you can do with a product or service in ways that engines like Bing can consume them, so we can do a better job. That’s the idea, how can we begin to unlock the power of these applications so engines like Bing can use them to fulfill a request.”
The common HTML5 base allows for faster launch times and a more consistent experience between mobile platforms. For example “Bing Deals, and transit directions should appear faster on the mobile apps,” Kim reported.
The hybrid apps improvements include:
- Maps/List Split View: Provides a dynamic way to synchronize a list such as business listings and directions and a map in a single view making it easy to see the location of what you’re searching for. Also works for driving directions and transit.
- Deals: One-stop deal shopping and convenient mobile phone access for local deals from more than 100 deal providers across the US.
- Video Domain: Launched last month on m.bing, the new video domain is now available on iPhone.
- Transit/Real-Time: The Android app now features transit routing/real-time transit and news -- all features that were previously only available on m.bing.com.
Look for Bing for Mobile Hybrid Apps first on the iPhone (in the US and UK) and specific Android devices in the US only. Microsoft is also working on hybrid apps for BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 devices.