WP7 Tip: Enable/fix local search results in Bing Search/Maps (For Canadian and other non-US users)

If you’re in Canada (or anywhere else outside USA), and have been trying to use Bing Maps to return local listings of businesses – you might have been wondering why Bing Maps seems to be broken. And by broken, I mean that searching for local businesses doesn’t seem to be working. If so, you need to read on!

I actually found this bug (or limitation by-design) by accident one day when I was playing around with my Language settings one day. If you currently *do not* have your Windows Phone 7 regional and language settings set to English (US) – then local search listings have been disabled, and searching for “sushi” in Bing Maps would have returned nothing! To fix this – follow these steps:

NOTE: This method works for Canadian users and *possibly* users of other countries outside the US – but I can’t confirm myself. Please post in the comments if it works/doesn’t work for you! (Current list of non working countries: Australia)

1) Go to Settings, then Region and Language options.

2) Change the following settings to “English (United States)”:
“Region Format” and
”System Locale” and
”Browser and search language”

3) Reboot your phone.

When it’s back online – test out Bing Maps or regular Bing Search! You’ll now have a tab called “Local” which will give you listings of local businesses!

Local Bing Map Search

The best way to check is to open up Bing Maps, and pick an area in your city with a fast-food chain you know of (Subway, McDonalds, etc), and do a search! Bing Maps should now return a whole bunch of results and clicking on one of them will bring up information about the business/directions/phone/nearby businesses! Unfortunately, the Reviews tab doesn’t seem to work for any restaurant I’ve tried – so I’m not sure how reliable that is.

Anyway, enjoy the *real* Bing search capabilities now!

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About the Author: ShiftF

I'm a recent senior computer engineering grad from the University of British Columbia. I'm also a bit of a phone addict - as I currently switch between a BlackBerry, a few iPhones and a few Windows Phones (Samsung Focus, HTC Titan, Lumia 900). I'm now work as a software developer full-time.