We already know that Microsoft is dead set on making Bing match, or even best, Google in search across the board.
We've watched the Bing team, supported by a multimillion-dollar marketing push, pump out innovation after innovation since its June launch, including indexing Twitter tweets, shared search and visual search experiments.
One of the core features of the new device is a voice user interface crafted from the voice recognition technology Microsoft secured when it purchased Tellme Networks in 2007.
The new interface, engaged by a dedicated Tellme button on the Sprint Intrepid, will let users search the Web with Bing by speaking their queries, and compose a text message or dial a contact by talking instead of typing. Check out this demo:
Watching the demo guy text via voice -- the app transcribed his words -- search for a restaurant and call his friend without typing (he only hit the Tellme button) made me slightly jealous.
I love this! Who doesn't want to talk instead of type? Talking is fun, typing is work. It's stating the obvious that this is a major timesaver, and I believe all Web apps, mobile or desktop-based, will be triggered by voice recognition in the next decade or so.
Does this voice search on a mobile phone sound familiar? Why yes, of course it does. It sounds like the Search By Voice app Google launched nearly a year ago for the Apple iPhone.
Back in June, Google added voice search for Google Maps on Google Android-powered phones.
However, the Tellme feature offers one clear differentiation that Google Search By Voice doesn't: the ability to text by voice, at least not natively. However, some Android Market apps do, according to a Google spokesperson:
"Composing text messages by voice is not currently possible directly through the Google Search by voice feature. However, there are a few apps in Android Market, such as Voice Text, that introduce similar functionality using Google's voice-recognition technology."
For Microsoft, it's crucial that Microsoft Bing offer such an enticing mobile application, particularly now that partner Verizon Wireless is buddies with Google.
Now it just needs to overcome the poor reviews for Windows Mobile 6.5 and, more importantly, for users to buy the Sprint SPH-i350 Intrepid to use the Tellme-powered Bing voice search.