Microsoft refreshes Bing for iPad app with 'Lasso' touch search

Microsoft is rolling out an update to its Bing for iPad application with new "Lasso" touch-search technology.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

In April this year, Microsoft released a Bing application for the iPad. On July 5, it updated that app, adding a new touch-search capability known as Lasso, to the release.

Lasso allows users to search outside the search box, the Softies said, by circling a desired term and then searching for it. Microsoft officials said Lasso will let Bing iPad users do in two steps what otherwise could take them nine (if they rely on the iOS operating system's cut-and-paste functionality).

"What you’re seeing today is only the beginning. Lasso moves Bing beyond the search box. Although it will only be available in Bing for iPad to begin with, we’re already thinking about how to take Lasso even further – so stay tuned," according to a blog post on the Bing Community blog.

The updated Bing app, slated to be available later today in the App Store, also provides an enhanced movie experience, allowing users to view multiple showtime days and theaters; plus the ability to swipe through the last six Bing homepage images; along with "hundreds of quality and performance improvements based on what we heard from you," according to the post.

Here's Microsoft's video clip of how Lasso works:

Microsoft's Bing team has been delivering a number of search advances for users of mobile devices and smartphones other than Microsoft's own. Microsoft officials have said that Windows Phone users will get some of the Bing improvements already received by others once Microsoft ships the Mango operating system update later this year, as that update will include an HTML5-capable version of Internet Explorer for Windows Phone.

The refreshed Bing for iPad (version 1.1) is not available outside the U.S. (I believe). When I asked about Microsoft's international rollout plans, a spokesperson said: "We’re working to expand to more markets in the future and will announce additional locations as they become available."

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