Microsoft goes after iPad search users with new Bing app

Application is custom-designed for the Apple tablet's touch-sensitive display.

Microsoft will try to lure iPad users to its search engine with a new Bing application built specifically for the popular Apple tablet device.

Called "Bing for iPad" and available for download Thursday, the application has been custom-designed for the Apple tablet's sharp and touch-sensitive display. It also has a feature that Bing offers only via this iPad application, called Trends, which displays popular searches of the past week.

Along the bottom of its home screen, the application features a set of "tiles" devoted to areas like news, traffic, weather and stock quotes, giving users snapshots of information about these topics.

Bing for iPad's image search organizes photo results in a grid, offers metadata about the files and lets users display full-screen previews without having to navigate away from the application.

News results are formatted in a way intended to exploit the iPad's strengths by featuring high-resolution images and print-magazine style layouts.

Like the regular Web-based Bing site, the iPad application also offers maps, entertainment, weather and other vertical-type search engines, as well as features like query auto-suggestion.

Bing for iPad also has voice-search capabilities to let users speak their queries instead of having to enter them manually as text.

Bing for iPad can be installed for free from the Apple App Store.

Tablet devices, and in particular the iPad, have been such a hit with consumers and are being used so heavily that providers of online services are racing to create tablet versions of their most popular applications.

In the search engine space, both Google and Yahoo have search applications that are compatible with the iPad and iPhone.

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