Review by Jordan Crook on Thursday April 07, 2011.
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Microsoft today released its Bing for iPad app, which gives users a rich search experience and offers direct access to maps, weather, trends, news, finance, and movies. The app also features voice search as well as text search, although just from my short relationship with the app, I can already tell that voice communication would not be its strong suit. My voice search for "burrito" turned up map results for "arena."
The layout of the app is nothing short of pleasing. The interface is snappy and well-organized, with a paneled display for News and Trends. To switch back and forth between searches and pages within the app, the user just swipes back and forth across the top of the screen. The weather search offers a 10-day forecast as well as an hourly forecast for the day and four different weather maps displaying cloud cover, temperature, satellite, and Doppler radar. Within the movies tab, the user can watch trailers, check local showtimes, read reviews, and check out a summary of the film. The finance section is a customizable tab in the app where users can add companies they'd like to pay attention to.
Overall, the application has a really nice look to it, but may be stretching itself too thin. The app seems to want to be a browser in and of itself, as users never leave the app when they click through to Bing-suggested sites. But without a URL bar, the app just can't compete with the default Safari web browser. Facebook and Twitter integration would also benefit the app, and hopefully future updates will add that functionality.
The Bing for iPad app is available now for download on the Apple App Store for free.