Despite the latest update to Windows Phone 7 being a mere beta so far, we have been talking about Mango and it’s cool, new features for quite a while now (like connecting to hidden Wi-Fi networks, media sharing from messages and graphical emoticons). One thing we haven’t discussed yet, however, is Bing vision. Frankly speaking, the capacitive search button in WP7 can get a bit annoying (especially while within an app when you hit it accidentally). But Microsoft put it there for a purpose, and now that purpose just got one huge face-lift. Gone are the days when hitting the search button just took you to the Bing homepage, and in Mango Microsoft has decided to add a lot of new and cool features to the Search menu in WP7. Among the changes coming to the search area in Mango is Bing Vision. In the next update of WP7 you will be able to use your mobile’s camera to scan book covers and QR codes, in order to learn more about these products.
Bing search is no longer just a search engine in WP Mango, it offers a Shazam-like music recognition service and visual search named Bing vision. What Bing vision allows you to do is to read barcodes on any product (and get all the information about it) and you can also scan any text, and translate it to almost any language you want. This feature of Bing is expected to make downloading new apps a lot easier too, as you will just have to scan a barcode to get pointed to the respective Marketplace page.
Unfortunately, if you are a WP7 user living outside the US, Bing Vision might have limited functionality for you. If you want to utilize everything this handy, smart feature has to offer, you have to make the phone believe that you are in the US right now. This turns out to be surprisingly easy. All you have to do is change your “Browser & Search Language” to English (United States). To do that, navigate to “Region + Language” menu located in the Settings screen. Also, make sure that the Live ID set up on your phone is US-based.
Now you will get the ability to scan DVDs and book covers (if the bar code is not available), along with the usual text scanning options, meaning that the search menu in your phone will gain the ability to recognize images.