Windows Live Search for Mobile: the U.S. on your phone?

Live_search_mobile_1Time for more freeware and once again, it’s courtesy of Microsoft. Have they been sniffing the packaging glue from Vista or is it me? If you have a Windows Mobile or J2ME-supported phone, you can install Windows Live Search for Mobile. I just did and while it duplicates some other third party services I already had, I think it’s a keeper.

First off, it’s as if Microsoft put their Virtual Earth on your phone. Essentially they did, but not all at once: when you search for a map with Windows Live Search for Mobile, the application pulls in the data it needs via your phone. If it weren’t for that little bit of tech, you’d swear they crammed the world in your handset.

The interface is clean and simple. Right now you’ve got just a few search options: categories, maps, directions and traffic. The traffic was extremely impressive as it updates via your phone every two minutes. Then again, there’s always traffic in this section of Philly, so maybe they’re saving bandwidth by using a static page on me. ;) Traffic coverage areas appear limited at the moment, but hey: it’s a beta!

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Maps are basically the same as they would be with the full Windows Live Search feature you’d use on a PC. You can view aerial or road maps and the zooming worked well. The aerial shot shown above is from a few years ago: there’s no longer a field by this farm, but my home and 34 others. The install is a small downloadable CAB file that you can find right here. If you do install this on a Windows Mobile phone look for it in your Programs folder, but don’t look for the long name of Windows Live Search for Mobile. Instead, you’ll find a simple little icon labeled "Search". Have fun!

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