The iPad is the perfect Web browser, and a handful of iOS apps allow users to perform quick-fire searches and to consume content while on the go. Two of the most popular, Bing and Google, come from big players in the computing industry, but which is best? Let’s take a look.
Bing for iPad
Release date: April 7, 2011
Latest update: March 20, 2015
Compatibility: iPad only
Bing for iPad, a dedicated iPad application that’s available on the App Store free of charge, allows users to easily search Microsoft’s Bing engine using Apple’s tablet. It first launched on the App Store back in 2011, and a separate application optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch is also available.
In the app, users can perform searches using either a text input field, at the top of the screen, or using a voice search tool (which can be activated using a microphone virtual button). Both routes lead users to a results page, where Web pages linked to your query are available to open. Bing for iPad also offers users a number of further features, including a “circle to search” tool, sharing options, and Microsoft account integration. Of course, since this is a Bing app, the application features an “image of the day” for users to check out, and this is a nice feature. The main user interface (UI) also includes widgets which update live with new information for users to browse; included among these are widgets for weather, news, images, and trends.
Often when using Bing for iPad, I find that Web pages are forced to reload and this hugely disrupts the reading experience offered by the app. Though pages are quick to load back, it’s still a big turn off that leads be back to Safari time after time. More generally speaking, Bing for iPad feels pretty buggy, too, and the experience of using the application isn’t as refined as we’d expect. Though the app offers a lot of positives, these few, small problems prevent Bing from offering users a perfect solution.
Total score: 15 out of 20
Release date: July 11, 2008
Latest update: May 23, 2015
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Google for iOS, a free search application that launched on the App Store some time ago, is Bing’s biggest competitor. It’s one of Google’s many iOS applications, but how does it stack up against Microsoft’s offering?
Google for iOS is an App Store heavyweight that’s gone from strength to strength since it first launched on iOS, way back in 2008. It offers users a smart, streamlined yet comprehensive means of performing Google searches using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and this starts with the app’s main UI. Here, users can type in a search query or, much like Bing for iPad, they can talk to the app, instead. However, Google’s voice search is, in our experience, far more accurate and fully featured than Microsoft’s offering. It also feels like Google’s app loads up pages quicker, too, and a Google button (which appears at the center of the application) makes it even faster for users to return to the app’s main search interface and send off new queries. There’s also the added benefit of Google Now, a Google-developed feature which provides “cards” of useful information based on your inbox and calendar.
Much like Bing, the problem with Google concerns its buggy nature, and in particular, its propensity to succumbing to the more-than-occasional crash. During our testing, Google (on an iPad Air 2) crashed a couple of times, and this is a big negative. That being said, the more fully featured nature of Google (compared against Bing for iPad) means we’d still opt for Google’s offering, even if users are likely to encounter a bug or two along the way.
Total score: 18 out of 20
And the winner is …
Google, because, quite simply, it has the most to offer and it feels the most refined. Sure, there are a couple of bugs present in the current release, but compared with Bing for iPad it’s the search app I’d rather be using.