You wouldn’t think that a Microsoft search engine would offer a feature that supports one of the company’s competitors, but as it turns out, Bing is doing just that with its recently launched visual search interface and a query for top iPhone apps.
Using www.bing.com/visualsearch, you can perform web searches and see the results in a 3D-like grid of images. With the filters on the left, you can narrow down these results in order to see just what you’re looking for. Obviously, not all web searches benefit from visualization, but many do. For example, at launch time, some of the 100 or so of the already enabled categories included things like product searches, book searches, car searches, and searches for dog breeds, sports teams and more.
Now you can add “iPhone apps” to that list. As the MediaBistro blog noticed, using Bing is an excellent way to find new iPhone applications. After doing a search for top iPhone apps, you’re presented with a screen that displays the apps’ icons as thumbnails you can scroll through.
Filters on the left let you narrow the search by top free, top paid, newest, most expensive, top games, top entertainment, or top social networking. You can also narrow results by application category (finance, games, lifestyle, music, etc.), price, or publisher.
When you find an app you like, you can click on its thumbnail to be taken to a Bing search result page for its name where you’ll find links to its website, reviews, relevant articles, and more.
As it turns out, this is actually a much better way to navigate through the thousands of available applications than using Apple’s own iTunes software. And yes – surprise, surprise – it’s from Microsoft.