Bing Updates iPad App With Cool "Circle & Search" Touch UI

It's been less than three months since Bing released its first iPad app. From day one, Bing has aimed to change the game of how people search on touchscreen devices. Today, Bing announced an update to it's popular Bing for iPad app. While the version is officially 1.1, the enhancements - over 130 of them - continue to innovate the way we search on mobile devices.

The Magic Lasso

By far the most impressive new feature is Lasso. Lasso allows the user to search from within another document, simply by drawing a circle around a word or phrase on a page.

Bing for iPad App - Circle and SearchHave you ever followed a SERP blue link to read a page, only to find that you need to search for more information on that page? Due to the difficulty of switching between apps on an iPad, this becomes an awkward task. Bing researchers determined it can take up to nine steps using copy and paste to go from browsing a page to performing a search.

Browsing after the search as been embedded into the Bing for iPad app from the beginning. There is no need to jump between Bing for iPad and Safari. With the addition of Lasso, people can be engaged in a site and search without leaving the browsing experience in just two steps.

"Search is more than a box. People are getting ideas on search, based on what they are reading and browsing," Stefan Weitz, Director of Bing, told SEW. "As they're engaging content, with one tap they can now conduct a search. It's a new metaphor on how you can search."

Searching is the second most popular activity used on table devices. How popular?

Bing for iPad users spend, on average, 30 minutes of time each day in the Bing app. In fact, 7% of those with Bing for iPad use it more than an hour each day.

Taking a user-centric approach has been Bing's philosophy for quite some time.

Bing's swipe motion navigation allows people to go back to where they were right after the search.

Searching With Lasso

The images below depict a simulated search. If you, for example, were reading about the Toy Story 4 rumor, noticed the sentence about Cars 2 and wanted to search for Cars 2, you would simply touch the Lasso icon and drag around the phrase Cars 2.

Step 1: Viewing a story in the Bing for iPad app

Viewing a news story

Step 2: Click Lasso and drag around

Click Lasso and drag

Step 3: You see results for Cars 2.

Get search results

The video at the end of this article also demonstrates Lasso.

Other Enhancements

Bing for iPad give Movies the spotlight

The movies content area of moves beyond movie trailers, theaters and showing times. Expanded theater listings include show times for multiple days in the future. The entire theater strip is swipable with a better user interface that includes Bing maps that let you check out a theater from map view right to street level.

Other features include updates to maps user interface, full-screen image search and zooming, a bunch of gesture navigation improvements, over 100 bug fixes and - most importantly - the ability to swipe through the last six Bing homepage images.

If you are already using the Bing for iPad app, check the App Store for an update. If you're not, it's available for free in the App Store. If you use it, let us know what you think of the new improvements.

Video: Bing for iPad Update: Searching without a search box

About the author

Thom is a seasoned techincal SEO and digital analytics veteran. His current role as VP of Development and IT at Internet Marketing Ninjas includes the improvement of internal processes, leading the creation and refinement of industry-leading tools across multiple brands.

Previously he was a premier independent consultant, held a a senior search position at nationally renown TopRank Online Marketing and led all digital web-related technology's at Rochester Institute of Technology's Saunders College of Business. He also led analytics strategy efforts for the university's mobile initiative.

Part of the ClickZ Academy faculty, Thom has also taught for several well-respected colleges and universities. He is a regular speaker at ClickZ Live events and is a veteran of TEDx as well.