Bing for iPad combines good looks with smart UI

Jul 11, 2011
Tech

I’m uncomfortable with giving Microsoft all this praise (see my review of Photosynth), but the Apple competitor has hit another home run with Bing for iPad. Bing isn’t a browser, so I don’t want to call it a replacement for Safari (although it very well could be if you search for a site’s name and […]

I’m uncomfortable with giving Microsoft all this praise (see my review of Photosynth), but the Apple competitor has hit another home run with Bing for iPad.

Bing isn’t a browser, so I don’t want to call it a replacement for Safari (although it very well could be if you search for a site’s name and access it through search results), but it is a quality search engine. What struck me most about Bing for iPad was its layout and design. The app will always open on a photo, with hot buttons to news, reviews, maps and the like displayed that the bottom of the screen. If you access trending topics, you’ll see hot topics of the day, displayed in a magazine-style photo-collage, with the previous day’s stories just a scroll away. News is divided into category, with top stories displayed as scrollable thumbnails. The experience reminded me a lot of Flipboard, only on a wider scale.

New in Bing for iPad is the “lasso” search. As you’re reading, tap the “Lasso” button in the upper tool bar. Once the screen goes gray, you can highlight a name or search a term with your finger, and Bing will automatically search for more information on the topic. I love the idea of the lasso, but I did have trouble catching on to the necessary precision. I was often unable to tell where the lasso was going to start, which caused the app to search for some half words by error. Even still, the concept is interesting.

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Possibly the best thing in Bing for iPad is the fact that as you browse through search results you can swipe right to go back a page, or left to go forward. This feature capitalizes on the iPad’s capabilities, and is a feature Safari sorely lacks. It just makes sense.

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