Image via Mashable
It sounds like a work of fiction - Microsoft allowing and supporting a way for people to browse and search iPhone apps?! Can't be true, right? Wrong. If you're somewhat surprised, you're not alone. The people at CNET seem a little astonished too.
There's a new way to search for iPhone apps, and it comes from the unlikeliest of sources: Microsoft. The new Bing Visual Search engine, announced yesterday, includes a special gallery section that spotlights iPhone apps.
The new Bing Visual Search engine has the look and feel of a digital jukebox at your local watering hole - complete with jumbo app icons that can be flipped through like a box of old records in the attic. And a description pops up when you mouse over the app of your choice, along with price, category, and other vital info.
I have to admit, both the look and functionality of this feature are really impressive. The obvious drawback, of course, is that only a fraction (500, in all) of the Apple app catalog is available for browsing through Bing. Everything is categorized by Bing's search filters and broken down into titled chunks like "top ten free" or "top ten paid," etc.
In any case, it's interesting to see Microsoft putting any kind of spotlight on the iPhone. And it would be more interesting still if this gallery ramped up to, say, 5,000 apps. Then it would be more than just a fun diversion; it would have some bona fide practical value.
And, no matter how you slice it, that's a win-win for consumers.