I ran across a nifty little utility for my cell phone over the weekend: Live Search Mobile. It’s a small application that you can install on Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices that
provides a slick front-end to the Live Search service. When you open the app, it tries to determine your location automatically. For me its consistently located me to within a block or two without having to turn on GPS. You can then select from a bunch of different options – Movies, Gas Prices, Traffic, etc. Clicking on an icon brings up search results based on your location. I find the movies really useful given that we practically live in movie theatres. Clicking on Movies opens up a page that has two tabs, one that lists the theatres in your area, the other that shows all of the movies playing. I use the theatre tab which lets me browse through each location and pick what movie i want to see. Show times, length, rating and reviews are all shown.
While you’re in the context of a particular entry you can perform a location based search on that entry. So, for example you can choose a movie theatre to go to and then search for restaurants around that location to find a place to go for dinner. Nifty.
In addition to the options on the main page, you can also click on Categories to view several dozen different categories from Restaurants to Arts and Entertainment and Fitness. As with movies, you can drill down into the details of each entry and perform related searches, bring up phone numbers, or get directions from your location to the place you want to go via turn-by-turn GPS (and grab traffic info while you’re at it).
If you don’t want to navigate through menus to find what you want, you can also click on Speak and say what you’re looking for. The client has surprisingly good voice recognition. Most of the time it goes immediately to a search for the term I want but if it needs to it’ll display a list of possible choices to choose from.
Live Search for Windows Mobile is available in the US, the UK, France and Italy. If you don’t have a supported device or you aren’t in a location that is currently covered by Live Search Mobile, you can always use the mobile version of the online Live Search service at http://m.live.com.