Microsoft’s Bing and Google are pursuing very similar strategies with their mobile apps. Google’s search app for iOS is essentially a browser and gateway to other Google apps and services. The same is true for Bing on iOS and Android.
Earlier this week Bing refreshed its Android app to make its UI and design consistent with other Bing properties. There are also some additional new features, though those aren’t fully specified. Basically we can assume that the functionality recently added to the iPhone app has now been incorporated into Bing for Android.
Among the new features, users can turn the Bing daily image into Android homescreen wallpaper, which is an expression of the “colonization” strategy I referred to. Opening the left panel of the app provides access to “more [Microsoft] apps” such as Skydrive, Xbox Live, Office 365 and a couple of others.
The fullest and most satisfying expression of Bing on a non-Microsoft device is probably Bing for iPad. Bing has wisely been evolving and pushing across a range of platforms as it must.
It’s not clear whether any of these efforts have moved the needle. StatCounter reports Bing’s mobile search market share as basically flat since last year (up from 2.3 percent to 3.3 percent). However there was a curious bump in the June-July time frame (to over 5 points), and a corresponding drop in Google’s share.
It’s also not clear whether Bing’s new role as default search engine for Siri will offer much incremental volume either. I use Siri as a search engine but most people are probably not fully aware of its search capabilities. Siri now automatically provides Bing results (“My web search turned this up”) when it isn’t able to provide a structured data result, which may help educate users about Siri’s Bing-powered web search capabilities.
The Siri relationship is very analogous to Bing’s relationship with Facebook: significant potentially but (so far) not particularly impactful in actuality. In its most recent smartphone marketshare report comScore said that Microsoft has a top 10 mobile web presence but the company doesn’t have a mobile app in the top 15.