Bing Maps Gets Overhaul Ahead of Uber Buy

Microsoft revamps its mapping technology's user experience as the company is reportedly getting ready to hand it off to Uber.

Bing Maps

Uber is snapping up Bing Maps, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, but Microsoft isn't done polishing up the technology.

An opt-in preview version of Bing Maps sports a redesigned interface, several new trip-planning features and third-party integrations. "The new Bing Maps is designed so you can search, view and share multiple places at one time, see trusted reviews and photos from partners such as Yelp, get access to a rich set of visuals and information on the places you plan to visit, make it easy to plan your travel times and more," said the company in a July 6 announcement.

Bing Maps' new interactive map surface and touch-friendly, card-based layout make scoping out multiple points of interest easier, asserted Microsoft. "The Bing Maps Preview organizes your search results into 'cards' that are displayed to the left of the map," the company stated. The cards allow multiple destinations in a single view and each card displays relevant information, such as hours of operation, and similar businesses and services nearby. With every stop on your trip in one view, planning a night out is much easier."

Advanced functionality is also just a tap or two away. Users can toggle between aerial and road views by clicking the corresponding button on the right side of a map. Right-clicking on the screen now allows users to perform additional actions like adding a location onto a desired route or getting a street-side view of the location, the latter of which sports a new split-screen layout. Users can also now take "a 360-degree tour of the area or drag your mouse along the map to view a new location," said the company.

New Along the Route functionality (U.S. only) also helps users discover hotels, restaurants and other locales that may warrant a stop during a trip. Plus, Bing Maps now does a better job of planning trips in general.

"Using predictive routing, Bing Maps Preview includes the option to input the day and time you plan to travel so you can view the estimated drive time. Now you can easily adjust plans if the roads look crowded," the company stated.

Clicking on a destination pulls data from partner resources, including Yelp, TripAdvisor and Wikipedia. Users can access general information, as well as Website URLs, address information, phone numbers and hours of operation all within the new card interface.

Managing favorites is also easier with My Places, Microsoft claimed. "In one click you can save a location under work, home or favorite. It will even sync with Cortana and the Windows Maps app."

Finally, new sharing options help users plan group outings. "Your travel companions will receive an email with the set of results cards, which they can view on their desktop or from a mobile device," said the company.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...