Microsoft's Bing app is one of many apps that I have downloaded and then deleted at some point. The app has gotten pretty good reviews inside the App Store, but I've never really seen the point of the app.
My problem is simply that I don't want to have to open up a new app when doing a search. Since most of the time I already an using the browser with its built-in Google search function, the idea of going into another app never really appealed to me.
However, Bing for iPad is really for those occasions when you grab your iPad to do a search exclusively. Yesterday, for instance, a friend was asking me about the name of a song with certain lyrics. I simply grabbed my iPad and opened Safari to find the answer – a very common thing with tablet owners (instant on being the big advantage tablets have over PCs).
But the new Bing for iPad has me installing the app once again. The updated app adds a "lasso" feature that makes searching much easier than the copy and paste feature built into the Apple iOS, and it retains its voice activated search capability.
"Today, it can be somewhat painful to search on a tablet when you’re engaged in reading something; just copying and pasting pieces of text from a webpage to a search box can take up to nine steps on the iPad," the Bing Team wrote on its blog page. "With Lasso you can circle and search in just two steps."
One huge negative, however, are the ugly pop-up adds that Microsoft has in its search feature. They are ugly, intrusive, and really an outdated way to introduce advertising.
Although Apple did not talk about voice command upgrades that it plans for iOS 5, the word is that Apple is heading in this direction. This will make the Bing app once again a bit less useful once these features are built into iOS, but the lasso feature is one that Microsoft might have for their own for a little while at least.
Microsoft remains a strange company. The promo video below is a good example: it is shot well, but couldn't they afford an external microphone?