Bing for iPad

By Alan Hammond

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As we mentioned the other day, Microsoft has come to the iPad. While Microsoft’s Office product isn’t part of the deal, their search engine app is top notch. If we can expect to see similar apps in the future from Microsoft then it would really be an interesting partnership between the two storied tech companies.

The addition of the Bing app as a solid search engine competitor on computing’s future platform is exciting, but is the Bing iPad app more than just a search engine in application clothing? Lots of people already think so.

I wasn’t looking for a better way to search when I discovered, to my surprise, the top free app in the App Store was Bing for iPad. I almost didn’t download it, but 1,300 people who gave it the highest rating against virtually no one who gave it lesser marks convinced me otherwise.

Hot Off the Press

As Microsoft describes it in their App Store description, “Bing is a decision engine…” Sort of rings of how political correctness plays on words, but sure, I’ll go with “decision engine.” After all, I see the search results and “decide” which ones to view.

The decision engine hit the App Store over the weekend (April 7) to wide acclaim. From what I’ve seen so far, and having never substantively used Bing before, it’s a sweet app.

The Bing app homepage today

It’s always been a nicer looking site than most other search sites, but the design looks stunning on the iPad.

Functionally Superior

It takes longer than a few days to determine whether search results are better and more reliable from one search engine to the next. A side-by-side comparison of Google results compared to Bing is much the same. As far as apps go, I like the functionality of Bing.

Bing news results for iPad 2

There’s the traditional home, menu, and settings buttons common to most apps. There’s also the familiar swipe navigation with which iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users will be familiar. There’s also web surfing from within the app that is not uncommon. Put them all together with the nice design and you have the Bing app.

Worth the Extra Step?

The drawback I see with the Bing app, indeed, any search-related app, is the extra step required for use while surfing in Safari, or on a surfing safari. If you’re already in Safari, there’s the Google search box in the upper right of your screen. Using the Bing app would require going out of one’s way. No matter how pretty, that’s not always going to happen.

I tried the “Make Bing your default search” option within the app Settings to see if it would change my default search within Safari from Google to Bing, but for some reason, I kept getting the “Try again later” message. If that’s an app flaw, I’m certain it will be addressed. If it works, I have no loyalty to Google and will change my default searcher to Bing.

About Alan Hammond
Alan is a freelancer writer and small business consultant. His writing has magically appeared in many places, but principally within the golfing realm. He's also a believer in the potential and future of the iPad. You can find him easily, but give twitter a try first, @AlanLHammond.

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