You can now do a voice search on your Android phone by giving it a quick flick—as long as it's a Bing search.
The feature comes from Microsoft’s Torque app, which is crossing over from Android Wear to smartphones. On smartwatches you can flick your wrist to fire up the app, which lets you search with Bing using your voice. It’s designed to give contextual answers much like Google Now, telling you the time in another part of the world, temperature, or other direct information.
If that isn’t enough Microsoft for you, the company also updated its Next custom lock screen. Much like Yahoo’s Aviate, it tries to present specific apps to you based on the time and location, so you can more quickly access the right apps for work, home, or being on-the-go.
The newest version now puts the forecast on the home screen, which looks pretty good over the minimalist background.
Both projects come from Microsoft’s Garage, a quasi-experimental group building several Android and Windows Phone apps.
Why this matters: Microsoft CEO Sadya Natella is pushing the company in a new direction, focusing on cloud-powered, cross-platform services. Give him points for letting Microsoft developers get creative with its Garage initiative. However, given how well Google search and services integrate on Android, it’s hard to see a lot of people clamoring for quicker access to Bing.