Microsoft integrates a host of new features into Bing Maps, including new color and detail, as well as apps such as a Taxi Fare Calculator. Bing and Google are engaged in an escalating feature war.
Microsoft has integrated a handful of new features into Bing Maps
in yet another salvo in the application's long-running battle with Google Maps.
The additions include a Taxi Fare Calculator and a World of Football app that
displays soccer scores from around the world and zooms into stadiums. In
addition, Bing Maps is now rendered more colorfully, with dynamic information
that pops up whenever the mouse hovers over a particular location.
The more colorful and detailed maps are accessible only by downloading the
latest version of Silverlight. That newfound color and shading includes "de-saturation
on zoom [that] allows more continuous transition to photographic material"
and "lower cognitive load-less data/clearer details," according to
3 posting on the Bing Community blog
. In addition, the updated maps improve
street detail in several international territories, including Central and Eastern
Europe and Asia.
"The Silverlight experience has a combination of both raster tiles and
vector graphics rendered in the browser at run time," explains the blog
posting, as a highly technological way of saying that Bing Maps now looks a lot
Bing Maps also features a handful of new apps. By opening the "Map Apps"
tab on the bottom left of the Bing Maps screen and clicking on OpenStreetMap,
users can access an open-source project that leverages crowd-sourcing to build
geographical data into maps. Other new apps, including Taxi Fare Calculator,
World of Football and a map of Microsoft's regional directors, are also
accessible through that tab.
For the New York City area, at
least, the Taxi Fare Calculator seems to give ballpark-correct amounts for the
majority of tested routes.
who live in Seattle may take an interest in the new Seattle Issues app
which offers information on civic hiccups such as water main breaks and
potholes. That app is apparently sponsored by SeeClickFix.com, which encourages
"residents to become active citizens in taking care of and improving their
city by seeing a non-emergency issue in their neighborhood, opening a ticket on
the SCF site and commenting on when the issue is resolved."
CEO Steve Ballmer insisted during the company's July 23 Financial Analyst
that Bing was worth its sizable investment, despite lagging behind
Google in overall market share.
"We're not confused. We've got a lot of work to do here," Ballmer
told the assembled analysts. "We're not confused that investors see the
big price tag to get into this business and say, 'What's the progress going to
look like on that?'"
Microsoft's revenues for its Online Services division rose last quarter to
$565 million, even as it faced a steepening quarterly loss of $696 million.
"So we're pushing ahead," Ballmer said. "I can't tell you
that there's a point on the imminent horizon in which you can expect the
business results to flip, but I can tell you to expect to continue to see
really interesting work."