Microsoft have updated their Bing app for the iPhone so that users can scan barcode labels and get an accurate search result, according to Device.
Users need to imply take a picture of the barcode and they will be taken to a search of the exact product, or to a specific page. This function already exists with Google, which worked images into its search with its Goggles service on Android. However, it hasn't hit the iPhone yet.
Whilst the technology is nothing new, Bing have tactically used it to help expand their popularity with mobile search. It's an important move for retailers - those keeping an eye on the advancement of mobile shopping will see this as a significant step in the progression of m-commerce.
Bing's barcode results show a range of information including the product, some reviews, where to buy it and images amongst other search results, according to PC World. The searches can even be saved for future reference. Techtree suggests this could be very useful to customers seeking out products. They point out it's particularly useful if you see something you like and you don't know what it's called or where to buy it.
The app was updated to coincide with the sale of the new iPhone 4. According to Internet Retailer, features on the new iPhone such as longer battery life and the ability to multitask could propel m-commerce into the mainstream. Avi Greengart, research director of consumer devices at Current Analysis said: "Extended batter life will help m-commerce for the simple reason that if consumers know the phone can last all day, they are more likely to use it heavily, which means more web browsing."