Microsoft Bing iPad App Takes on Safari

Microsoft released Bing mobile for iPad today, the company's first foray into the world of iPad apps. This app is completely separate from the Bing iPhone and iPod Touch app. The app is centered on search, as you would expect, and it seems to be taking a shot at luring users away from the stock Safari browser. There are some limitations, but also some features that could make it a very useful app.

First, no matter where you are in the app, there is a search bar at the top. The bar is larger than the one found in Safari, and it includes voice search by TellMe. There is also a jump list on the side which includes suggestions, related searches, search history, and a category filter that lets you choose between web searches, or news, video, and image search.

The Bing app lets you do searches quickly, then jump back and forth between search results and destinations pages. The results pages stack, and and you slide your finger across the screen to jump to a different page. The information is saved from session to session, so that you can go through past searches by swiping backwards. There is also a dedicated history section that lists all past searches.

The app also functions as a content aggregator, so you can view weather, movie listings, and news. These are placed as tiles at the bottom of the home screen, and some, like weather and finance, can be customized so that you can see the stock symbols or weather location from the thumbnail. There is also a dedicated news reader showing the top stories by category, which also can be customized to your interests.

The drawbacks are that you can't bookmark links or send them to a printer (though you can email and copy them), things you can do in Safari. Overall, it seems to be a useful app, and worth giving a try. If you have tried it, let us know what you think. The Bing app will be available on the App Store today.

[via CNet]