Microsoft has revealed that it is launching a Bing app for iPhones.

Like Google's Mobile app, the Bing application is a free App Store download, and acts as a gateway to Bing's web search and other services.

It maintains the Bing website's look and feel, with text laid atop a colourful background image, but using simplified menu options for navigation. Microsoft is set to make the announcement via its Behind Bing blog.

Users will be able to get turn-by-turn directions with Bing Maps, along with traffic information. The focus is on local results in other areas as well, with movie listings, weather and local businesses.

Omitted from the app's home page is Bing Shopping. It's not clear whether Streetside, a feature of the Bing Maps Beta akin to Google's Street View, will make the leap.

Of course, the app can be used to search the web, read the news, and look up recent and favorite searches. Matching Google's app, Bing also lets users search the web by voice.

Other features include the ability to open multiple tabs within the Bing application, pushpins for saving locations and multiple locations shown on a single map.

Much of the iPhone experience remains dominated by Google. It's the default search engine for the iPhone's default browser - Safari.

Google Maps powers locations and directions for the iPhone and YouTube provides entertainment. As it stands, the iPhone limits the default search engine to either Google or Yahoo.

Bing loyalists have been forced to type in '' to conduct a Bing search.

For some time Microsoft has tried to muscle onto the iPhone. In August Microsoft app developers made it possible for third-party iPhone app developers to integrate Bing into their offerings by providing a software developers kit (SDK).

That would allow app developers to create iPhone application that searched Bing for web information, images, videos, news and phonebook results.

A Bing Mobile app is already available for Blackberry and Windows Mobile phones.

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See also: Microsoft Bing Maps challenges Google Maps