Microsoft's new Bing app brings a simple but visually slick approach to searching the Web.
The new operating system already offers Internet Explorer, both as a Windows 8 app and a traditional desktop program. As a third option, Bing is a dedicated app that acts as a portal to Microsoft's own search engine.
Launching the app opens Bing's home page with the search bar, links to popular topics, and a cool background picture. Clicking in the search bar displays a tiled list of both previous and popular searches. You can choose one of those or type your own search term.
In return, Bing eschews the usual Web page of search results in favor of a tiled list. You can scroll your way to the right to see more and more search results. Clicking on a tile opens the page in the Windows 8 version of Internet Explorer.
Getting back to your search results is a bit clumsy at first because now you have two apps open -- Bing and Internet Explorer. To return to Bing, you have to move your mouse to the upper left corner and click on the thumbnail for Bing.
Having to move back and forth that way between Bing and IE is awkward. But you can work around that method by displaying both Bing and your browser side by side.
Let's assume both apps are open. From Bing, move your mouse to the upper left corner and right-click on the thumbnail for Internet Explorer. Click on the Snap Right option to display IE on the right pane of the screen next to Bing.
You can then move the separator bar to the left so that Bing takes up the smaller chunk. Your tiled search results now appear vertically on the left. Clicking on a search result opens the corresponding page in IE in the right pane.
Like many Windows 8 apps, Bing doesn't offer a lot of bells and whistles. But that's not its goal.
I'll most likely stick with the desktop version of Internet Explorer for most of my hardcore searches and site management in Windows 8. But the Bing app does provide a quick, simple, and fluid approach to Web searches, so I can see a handy niche for it as well.