[Edit: I've corrected the name of the Live Search Mobile application; sorry for any confusion, and thanks to Jeremy Beasley of the Live Search Mobile team! -- Jim] 

I’m a big advocate of the Software + Services approach to accessing information; when done right, S+S uses your data connection to combine the best of local computing power with the immense resources of cloud computing.

There are many examples of this approach, and one of the best is Live Search Mobile, which we’ve discussed before on this blog.  The Live Search team has released an improved version of the client for Windows Mobile (as well as other devices).

The new Live Search Mobile client (the updated edition I just installed on my Samsung BlackJack II shows version number 4.0.12158.1) includes a number of cool features and refinements, including:

  • Enhanced Locate Me.  The Live Search Home screen includes a Locate Me control that works both on GPS-enabled phones and without GPS.  It seems to work very quickly on my BlackJack II, and it’s quite accurate… this screen shot shows my location on the Microsoft campus in Redmond (accessed by telling Live Search Mobile to Locate Me, then opening the Map view, in Road mode, full-screen).

live_road_locateme

  • Bird’s Eye View. This cool new map view shows a low-level, three-dimensional perspective of a location; the following screen shot shows an even more detailed view of the cluster of buildings I work in at Microsoft (though it has me in the wrong building… my office is actually in Building 118).

live_bird_office

I find Bird’s Eye Views of other places far more attractive; for example, a couple of shots of the Seattle Center in downtown Seattle.  First, the Frank Gehry-designed Experience Music Project (with local search results superimposed, showing Seattle Center):

live_bird_emp

Next, the iconic Space Needle itself, with the Seattle Center amusement park in the background:

live_bird_spaceneedle

Finally, let’s leave Washington State and check out one of my favorite sites for live music, Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado:

live_bird_red_rocks

  • Predictive text in the search controls is a nice new touch; I love building models of military aircraft and tanks, and often find myself looking for hobby stores to browse whenever I have some idle moments.  Live Search Mobile makes this easier than ever, as you can see in the next screen shot.

live_predict_hobby

Along with the many enhancements, Live Search Mobile continues to feature everything you know and love about the tool, including quick access to directions (with a cool Track Me Using GPS option!), traffic conditions, movie times, gas prices, and, of course, the Live Search engine. 

Download the updated client and give it a try!  If you’re already running the Live Search Mobile, it should notify you soon that a new version is available for download; otherwise, navigate to http://wls.live.com on your phone to get started.