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The Movers.com Blog » Blog Archive » Application Review: Bing Maps Beta

Application Review: Bing Maps Beta

You need to get some Internet into that old thing!

You need to get some Internet into that old thing!

If you’re moving to a place you’ve never lived before, you are understandably excited, or maybe even a little nervous, about your new environment. It is only  human to fear and still want to  explore the unknown. Google Maps has long provided a way of looking at most of the inhabited world through streets and satellite photos.  This is not all that scary.

More to the point, however: Microsoft has recently stepped up to the plate with Bing Maps Beta (scroll to the bottom left to launch the beta version; you may be required to install some software).

Bing is Microsoft’s search engine, one they’ve been plugging more or less endlessly in the last few months. Bing Maps will seem familiar to anyone used to Google’s services, but this Beta version, powered by Silverlight (their new web application software) has a few tricks up its sleeve. First of all, Microsoft has included the Streetside feature, which allows you to explore cities at eye level. It is more involved and immersive than Google’s street view.

Another advantage is how easily you can toggle between map views, satellite photos, and “bird’s eye,” which is a photo perspective that is on a slight angle, giving you an interesting look at different cities. There are numerous other features, like graffiti- and art-finding apps, not all of which I have space to talk about here (or time at work to play around with), but there is one more that I would like to mention.

One of the most interesting and worthwhile aspects of this interface is the integration of Photosynths into the maps. While just looking at satellite photos of streets and buildings almost anywhere in the world might still amaze some people, there are those of us who need more (apparently). Bing’s maps link directly to Photosynths of the interiors and exteriors of buildings and other landmarks in a city. It provides about as in-depth a tour as you could expect from the comfort of your office chair, and let’s you see the actual interiors of some places in your new city or town. For instance: someone who lives near my parents’ house made one of a tree in their backyard. Interesting.

Problems? I felt like a nerd when I got in a huff because Silverlight doesn’t work with Google Chrome, so that’s a two-way issue. Also, since the Beta version is still in development, there are still a lot of areas with no Streetside. I would also say that it runs a little slower than Google. All of this could change, though, once the next version is released.

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One Comment

  1. sad says:

    Thanks

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