Bing for iPad represents a new Microsoft attempt to expand its search engine's presence, even onto devices that threaten its business model and future tablet plans.
Microsoft and Apple have engaged in the oddest of rivalries. Ostensibly at each
other's throats over operating systems and smartphones, the pair nonetheless
offers a version of Office for Mac, and Microsoft once famously invested $150
million in Apple to keep it operating during the dark years.
knows a market when it sees one, in other words, and Apple seems disinclined to
reject many things that would bring customers into its fold. Hence, the new
appearance of Bing for iPad: Microsoft's search engine on the one device that
threatens, if not the PC-centric paradigm on which Microsoft built its
business, certainly Redmond's attempts to make a name for itself in the tablet
"Bing for iPad
goes beyond the traditional search experience, offering a unique and visually
rich way to search the Web," read an April 7 posting by Zachary Gutt, Bing's lead
program manager. "The app is designed from the ground up for touch. You can
quickly browse news, movies, Bing homepage images, local business lists and
much more-all with the swipe of your finger."
design includes a home screen loaded with information on local weather, top
news, maps and stock market news. Users can also tap on "Trends" to access
information about popular topics. The multiple map views include road, aerial
and bird's-eye, while allowing the user to save businesses and destinations to
their address book or calendar.
The free application
also includes voice search. "Bing's autosuggest feature helps you refine your
search by providing suggestions based on your recent searches and related
searches done by other people," Gutt added. "When searching for a popular
topic, Bing provides the most relevant answer up top, complete with quick links
to help you complete your task faster."
inked a number of partnerships in its attempt to make Bing a viable rival to
Google. In addition to its agreement with Yahoo to power the Web-portal
company's backend search, Microsoft has also worked to deepen its friendship
with Facebook for U.S. users, even extending the social network's Liked Results
to any URLs retrieved by Bing's algorithmic search.
Facebook originally announced their social-search partnership in October 2010,
when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared onstage with Microsoft executives to
talk about how social tools could enhance more generalized Web search. "We're
hired-wired so that information about people is the most interesting
information we track in the world," he told the audience.
movement into tablets, of course, suggests a search engine looking for still
further advantages in establishing market-share.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.