Apple has long been simpatico with the podcast world; they try and sometimes fail to provide cool, free app technology, and podcasts are given a showcase of sorts in iTunes, which also happens to be the gold standard of podcast ratings–the Rotten Tomatoes of internet radio. Microsoft–not so much.
The Windows 8 phone showcased Xbox Music and a video platform called Hub. But Bing, quietly one of the prettiest (albeit less efficient search engines), has a new app that’s all about my favorite medium.
The previous Microsoft app was a product of the Xbox team, possibly a less than ideal match-up. It didn’t speak to the needs of podcast listeners. It looked good, but lacked the functionality podcast enthusiasts have come to expect in their apps: the coolest of which is the search functionality.
One of the great things about podcasts is the sheer volume of possibilities. There’s a podcast about everything. Finding one you think you’ll like can be a daunting task. You need a powerful search engine to support that kind of search. And here Microsoft trumps Apple. Enter Bing. Where the boat that Jobs built has docked indefinitely, Bing has opened up a door to increased search capabilities and expanded results. Imagine if Google burned a few calories making a podcast app. You could find every episode down to the cologne the host was wearing.
Here are a few of the features the new Bing app is championing:
- Variable playback speed
- Bing search (of course) with add capabilities
- Support (user and sharing)
The app, in its current incarnation, relies on a pivoting interface. You can see what’s playing currently, swipe to check your favorites, and swipe again to add new shows. Now, what suprised me was the UI. It’s not near good-looking as other Bing platforms. It’s a bit pedestrian in fact. But maybe these are just some beta growing page.