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Thursday April 7, 2011 11:14 am

Bing launches magazine-like iPad app

Microsoft knows the importance of the mobile audience, even when it means taking advantage of a competitor's mobile platform—in this case, Apple's. Since late 2009, iPhone users have been able to download a Bing app that offers voice search, local shopping, scrolling image search, maps and directions. Now iPad owners get a Bing app that adds a new trends feature, which lets them explore the trending search topics of the week.

The new app, which is available in the iTunes App Store starting today, sports a homepage featuring the trademark (and often stunning) Bing photo of the day, along with tiles showing local weather, news, maps, movies, and trends. The interface makes a lot of use of the swipe touch gesture, especially in image search. A dropdown menu offers all these choices plus Images, Videos, Shopping and History—that is, your search history, not the school topic.

Trends shows tiled images for the week's major current events. It can almost be thought of as a lightweight replacement for an app like The Daily or Flipboard. Touching one of its images opens a search page showing news and images about the topic, like MLB Opening Day. Some topics get a slicker treatment rather than just a Bing search results page: touching through an entry about "30 Rock's" Tina Fey labled "Ms. Bossypants" displayed a grid of stories that somewhat resembled the New York Times' Web site layout. After reading a result page, you can swipe left-to-right to get back to the trends page.

Maps in the Bing app shows traffic with the typical green road indicating smooth going and red for roadblocks. It also can produce turn-by-turn directions. A map search for restaurants nearby PCMag's Manhattan headquarters turned up results that included star ratings and displayed links for the eatery's Web site, phone number, directions, and offered to add a calendar entry. Mostly upscale places appeared, but a lot of closer ones weren't found.

You can read more about the new iPad app on the Bing Community blog, or try it for yourself: it's a free download from the iTunes App Store. If you need to see more before doing that, check out the video above.

This article, written by Michael Muchmore, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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