Microsoft this week detailed two new Bing apps that will be included with Windows 8.1—Food & Drink and Health & Fitness—and some nice improvements to the apps that debuted in Windows 8: News, Finance, Weather, Sports and Travel.
(The standalone Bing app has essentially been replaced by new Bing integration into the Smart Search feature in Windows 8.1. And while the Maps app also comes from Bing, that app wasn't part of this week's discussion. But it's been updated as well.)
"Staying connected, expressing yourself, getting stuff done, having serious fun: these are some of the most important things we all do, every day, and we believe your Windows device should reflect that right from the first moment you power it on," Ryan Gavin writes in a new post to Microsoft's Windows Experience Blog. "The Bing apps bring you the information you want, from the content sources you trust, in easy to use, photo-rich experiences."
Here are some updates and changes Gavin highlighted:
Offline news. The News app now supports an optional offline mode—it's in Settings, Options—so you can read offline.
Customizable news. The News app now also provides nice customization features so you can keep up-to-date on specific categories, news sources or story topics.
New tile size support. Each of the Bing apps support the largest tile size, so you can stay up to date from the Start screen. The Finance app's tile delivers stock price updates, and the News app tile provides news headlines.
New Food & Drink app. The new Bing Food & Drink app sports a hands-free mode so you can move step-by-step through a recipe without having to touch your device: Just use a simple hand-wave in front of your device's camera. It has thousands of recipes, and you can upload your own and share favorites with others.
New Health & Fitness app. This new app features diet, health and exercise trackers, plus step-by-step instructions and videos for nearly 1000 exercises and 220 workouts.
Reading List compatible. Each of the Bing content apps—as I think of them—also integrates with the new Reading List app, so you can save favorite articles and come back to read them later. (Or at least that's the theory. It doesn't appear to work from all of the apps right now.) Note that Reading List doesn't (yet?) provide offline capabilities.
News, Finance, Weather and Sports are on Windows Phone too. Don't forget to grab the Bing News, Finance, Weather and Sports apps on Windows Phone 8, too. I recently made them an app pick, and they're just as great on the go as they are on your device.
I'll be writing more about the Bing apps in Windows 8.1 via various tips on this site and of course in Windows 8.1 Book, which is now underway.