Bing, Google, and Yahoo All Making Maps More Interesting

Chris CrumSearch

Share this Post

At TED, Microsoft unveiled some new features for Bing Maps. "This work builds on the idea of spatial search that Microsoft discussed in December when the company launched its new version of Bing Maps," a representative for Microsoft tells WebProNews.

Some of the new features are available today, but some you will have to wait on a little bit. Microsoft highlights the following new features:

    • Streetside Photos application (in technology preview): Available today, this tech preview mines geo-tagged photos from Flickr, and relates them to the Streetside imagery in Bing Maps. As more people contribute and share imagery, we can reunite those photos with the location where they were taken. This application will also enable the layering of historical imagery, so people can go back in time and see a location as it existed decades prior.

    • World Wide Telescope Integration: We’re not just stopping at the street, and are excited to announce our vision for the initial integration with the World Wide Telescope, a project out of Microsoft Research. Once launched, you will literally be able to “walk” outside in Streetside mode, look up, and see what’s above – way above, with constellations coming to life. 

    • Indoor Panoramas: At the same time as we’re getting more “universal” with World Wide Telescope, we’re also getting more intimate. Today, we’re showing the first results of our indoor panoramas work. This will provide an experience identical to Streetside, but won’t be limited to places you can take a vehicle. Whether you’re exploring Seattle’s Pike Place Market, or your favorite theme park, Bing Maps will give you the most immersive experience of the place. 

    • Video Overlay Technology: MIcrosoft also demonstrated a preview of our new video overlay technology, which enables real-time video to be overlaid seamlessly on street-level imagery, adding another dimension to the mapping experience. In the coming year, we think you will be pleasantly surprised with how far Bing takes this new technology.   

Meanwhile, Google has introduced Google Maps Labs, similar to Gmail labs, only for maps. Right now there are only 9 features, which you can enable/disable at anytime, but that list is sure to increase greatly over time. Current features include:

- Drag 'n' Zoom
- Aerial imagery
- Back to Beta
- Where in the World game
- Rotatable Maps
- What's Around here?
- LatLng Tooltip
- LatLng Marker
- Smart Zoom

Click the little green flask icon at the top of Google Maps to access these, and see more details about what each one does.

Google is also just finished pushing out an imagery update for Google Earth and Google Maps. More on that here.

As long as we're talking about Bing and Google, let's not leave Yahoo out. This week at their SearchSpeak event, they unveiled a mobile app that's not available yet, but has attracted a fair amount of Buzz. It's called Sketch-a-Search, and lets users trace areas on maps with their fingers to search for things in that area.

Which search engine has the Maps features you are most interested in? Let us know.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.