Microsoft launches Bing app for Apple iPad

Bing hopes to wean iPad searches away from Safari

A more attractive alternative to Google

Microsoft has launched its first app for the Apple iPad and it's a rather lovely-looking version of its Bing search engine.

The Bing app, which is free to download from the App Store, is hoping to offer a more attractive and intuitive alternative to searching using Safari or the new standalone Google Search app.

Upon launch the app presents a series of those visually pleasing homescreen images Bing has sought to employ along with a search bar at the top of the page, and a series of categories such as Weather, News, Maps, Movies, Finance and Trends.

Hitting Weather will instantly bring up the weather for your locale with a nice, innovative sliding UI indicative of many of the apps we've seen grace the iPad's screen. The News section shows off the top stories of the day from a range of sources (not just msnbc) with a category-centric approach that reminds us of the Pulse News app. The Movies offer trailers and showtimes.

Bing for iPad also boasts voice search, powered by TellMe, which works a lot better when you speak in an American accent. We tried searching for and it brought up results for Beckham. Go figure. When you're done with the search, you can swipe to the left and right to access previous searches or return to the homescreen.

In saying that, on first impressions, Bing for iPad is brilliantly designed and an absolute joy to use. It could do with some better sharing options (it only offers the chance to email or copy the link) but on the whole this looks to be a fantastic addition to the App Store and a real alternative to the Google search options.

Link: Bing for iPad