April 15, 2011

Review: Microsoft Brings Bing To Apple’s iPad

John Neumann for RedOrbit.com

Microsoft has done an impressive job of rebranding its formerly utilitarian and sometimes frustrating search engine into a bright, lively and dare I say it, convenient, Bing. Straddling the line between a "just-the-facts-ma'am" utility and a "too-much-to-choose-from" mess of search results, Bing has shown some staying power as a useful alternative to Google.

Recently released for iPad, Bing shows remarkable versatility is finding and displaying your search queries. The iPad version of Bing was created with the idea that your fingertips will know what you are looking for.

Unlike Google, where you search first and decide afterwards which type of media you were thinking of, Bing makes it seem easy to seek out news, images, films, business listings, etc.

I personally enjoy the news listings for whatever subject you are researching. A Flipboard-like grid of relevant news results that is very clean, responsive and useful.

Search queries also result in a listing along the left side of appropriate groups of results. Searching for a type of vehicle will bring you a drop down list of reviews, images, local sales, videos and news. Below those is a list of related searches that might be helpful.

Along the top row of the screen is an icon of a microphone. Activating it allows you to speak what you are looking for. Upon several tries with various spoken questions, the results were very accurate and available 4-5 seconds after speaking. I am not sure how often I would use that but it does make an amazing exercise in technology.

The overall look of the app is stylish without looking forced. I didn't realize how ubiquitous and ugly Google's ads are, splashed everywhere until you see a search page that does not include them. The feel of Bing on the iPad is slick and clean.

I am not one who enjoys the software that Microsoft has forced on people for years. I find them to be buggy, frustrating, ergonomically backwards and generally not worth the hassle they inevitably give me. However this writer will say publicly that Bing for the iPad is worth a look and you might even enjoy it.

Bing for iPad is available as a free download from iTunes, but only in the US for now.


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