Microsoft takes mobile users on a mall tour with Bing for mobile, hints at the future of shopping
Microsoft is giving mobile users the ability to search for shops and locations inside of malls with the addition of mall maps and map search on Bing for Mobile Browse.
“We’re excited to share that as of today, our collection of more than 400 shopping malls is available from m.bing.com making it easier to get where you’re going and find what you need on the go,” announced Microsoft in an August 3 post on its Bing Search Blog.
The addition of indoor mall maps to Microsoft’s mobile solution is a small but significant shift that hints at the increasingly important role smartphones will play in the future of consumer shopping.
As digital marketing agency White Horse mentions in a July 2011 study on the Future of In-Aisle Mobile, “shoppers are storming retail aisles armed with smartphones and a determination to change the way they buy.”
Equipped with detailed information about shop locations within busy, complex malls “in-and-out” shoppers, even those who have never visited the mall before, can quickly find what they are looking for.
Where the detailed interior mapping scene gets even more interesting is when mobile users are able to use their device to locate individual items within a store and on arrival find location-based coupons for the product.
An indoor mapping company called Point Inside is already pursuing this avenue. Point Inside recently launched a new feature on its “find-it” mobile app that combines shopping lists with in-store location-based maps, helping shoppers locate items within a supermarket.
An iPhone app called Meridian follows a similar concept, offering to find your seat within a stadium, locate books within a book store, to find artwork at the museum.
Google is also looking into the possibilities of indoor mapping. In May 2011 Google introduced Business Photos for Google Maps, a kind of interior Street View that lets you “enter” local businesses to see what’s inside.
If the URL of Microsoft’s blog post is anything to go by (http://www.bing.com/community/site_blogs/b/search/archive/2011/08/03/new-airport-maps-for-bing-and-mall-maps-come-to-mobile.aspx) the company is not stopping at the interior of malls. Detailed airport maps may be the next feature to land on Microsoft’s Bing mobile map site.
Life & Style blogs
Guest post by Richard Sexton, business development director of e.surv chartered surveyors
Plus lateral thinking and living on London's waterways
Other popular areas include Didsbury, Clifton in Bristol, central Cambridge and West Bridgford
Facial hair: Cat beards and the purrrsuit of excellence
Microsoft's Xbox One: Have the price (£399) and release date (30 November) been leaked by online retailer Zavvi?
James Pembroke: The man who's eaten everywhere
The 10 Best salt and pepper sets
Xbox One vs PlayStation 4: Why Microsoft's console name game just doesn't add up
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.