Now that the number of iPhone applications is quickly approaching six digits, finding useful software seems to get more difficult every day. You may have heard that Apple is working on ways to improve the search for iPhone apps in the App Store and iTunes.
Now Microsoft is getting into the game with their Bing search engine. They've added a visual search gallery for top iPhone apps based on the company's Silverlight technology.
The visual search shows the top 500 iPhone app icons and lets users browse details of each application. Rolling over an icon gives more details, such as the developer, price, category, rank, and release date. Clicking the icon results in a normal web search on the application.
Apps can be browsed by category and sorted by name, popularity, price or release date. There are also filters, which narrow results to specific categories, prices or publishers. The interface is polished and smooth, but it requires installation of the Silverlight plug-in to view in your web browser.Although the search is visually attractive and useful, none of the search results links directly to the iTunes App Store.
Hopefully Microsoft will continue to improve this latest addition to Bing. It may even give Apple some fresh ideas on how to organize the massive number of iPhone apps.