Attention, bargain hunters. The Bing apps for iOS and Android from Microsoft can now help users save some cash.
"The update includes a new barcode scanner that lets you compare product prices from online catalogs of major retailers," the company said in a Feb. 4 announcement. "There's also new integration with GasBuddy so you can find the cheapest gas in your area."
Users can activate the barcode reader by long-pressing the search icon and training their phones' camera lenses on a product's barcode. "We'll find if it [is] in our database and return prices and customer ratings from major retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Target and others. We source our data from multiple retailers, so you can be truly certain in your purchase decision," boasted the software giant.
Owners of Apple's newest iPhones can take a time-saving shortcut from the home screen.
"You can access the scanner on iPhone 6s/6s Plus, using the new 3D Touch technology to force-touch the Bing app icon and select the 'Scan Barcode' quick action. On older iPhones, users can go to the new 'Deals' menu and tap the barcode scanner icon from there," instructed Microsoft.
For drivers, Microsoft expanded on the app's gas station search capabilities by integrating GasBuddy's gas price comparison tool. "Now, you'll see fresh gas prices provided by GasBuddy for the closest fuel stops from Bing Local. Just search for 'gas' or go to 'Near Me' and select 'Gas' bubble from the places-near-me carousel," said Microsoft.
Finally, the updated Bing app offers a "dedicated deals experience," albeit only on the iPhone version
"In addition to showing deals directly in search results (like when you search for a restaurant), we now make it easier to browse deals directly from the home page of the Bing App for iPhone," stated Microsoft. "We'll automatically find the deals near you, and all you have to do is follow the instructions for how to redeem it from the deal/coupon provider." The company said it's working on bringing the feature to Android users.
Bing Predicts Super Bowl Winners
Meanwhile, Bing has already predicted which team will win the Super Bowl.
Brushing off the Surface snafu during the Jan. 24 AFC game—a networking problem at the stadium, according to Microsoft and the NFL—Microsoft's Bing Predicts group expects the Carolina Panthers to triumph over the Denver Broncos in Sunday's big game. "In Sunday's title game, the Bing Predicts models project 17-1 Carolina to win the Big Game with 64 percent probability," wrote Walter Sun, the Bing Predicts Team Lead, in a blog post.
Explaining the rationale behind the pick, Sun noted that in "the regular season, Carolina was the league's #1 scoring offense and #6 scoring defense, while Denver was the #20 scoring offense and #4 scoring defense. Carolina's rush offense was #2 vs. #17 for Denver, and Denver's rush defense was #3 while Carolina's was #4."
In the end Carolina will prevail, he said. "Both defenses are stout, so our models expect Carolina's much stronger offense to be the difference, becoming the first 18-win champion in 30 years," said Sun.