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How to Launch a Mobile Search Mission from Your iPad

Most folks spend a lot of time using search engines on the Internet. And the search engines summoned most often are Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft Bing, at least in the United States. If you’re in China, chances are you search Baidu. In any event, all these search options are available on the iPad.

With iOS 7, Apple brought the previously separate address bar and search fields together into a single convenient, unified strip called the smart search field, following the path taken on most popular web browsers for PCs and Macs.

Although you can certainly use the virtual keyboard to type google.com, yahoo.com, or bing.com into this field, Apple doesn’t require that tedious effort. Instead, just type your search query directly in the box. The big American-known search engines are available on the iPad, and you can switch from one to another in Settings.

If you’ve turned on a Chinese keyboard in Settings, you also see an option for a popular search engine in China called Baidu.

To conduct a web search on the iPad, tap the smart search field. You immediately see icons for your favorite web destinations, with Apple betting on your frequent return visits. But when you start typing in the smart search field, a Google (or other) search mission commences, with Top Hits — an educated guess, really — shown at the top.

You see other search suggestions as you start tapping additional letters. In the figure, for example, typing the letters le yields such suggestions as Lexmark, LeBron James, and league of legends. Tap any search results that look promising, or tap Go on the keyboard to immediately land on the Top Hit. Or keep tapping out letters to generate more search results.

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You can also find a search word or phrase on the very web page you have onscreen. Initially you entered a search term in the search field and scrolled to the bottom of the resulting list to tap On This Page. Because that was unknown to many users, Apple has added a section labeled Find on Page.

You’re informed of the number of matches; if it’s more than one, you can move back and forth through them with the right- and left-pointing arrows at the bottom of the screen.

Siri can open Safari — all you have to do is ask. Siri can (in some cases, anyway) take you to your favorite search engine, just by you uttering the name of a website.

You also can conduct a web search by initiating a Spotlight search. As a reminder, you can summon the Spotlight search field by swiping down from any Home screen. Type (or dictate) your search term and then scroll down to the bottom of the list below any search results that point to the use of the term on the iPad itself (meaning inside messages, notes, apps, and so on).

Tap Search Web to search the web with the term you entered, or tap Search Wikipedia to run that search inside the Wikipedia online encyclopedia.

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