Microsoft has added dozens of new locations to the Bird’s Eye feature in Bing Maps. Bird’s Eye uses oblique imagery processing technology to provide detail-packed views that can help travelers navigate their surroundings by sight.
“Oblique imagery is a great complement to Aerial 2D imagery because it has much more depth and provides a view of your destination that is more familiar and in line with what people expect,” stated Microsoft Bing staffers in a blog post. “You can see Bird’s Eye imagery in Bing Maps, and this view can offer a better context for navigation because building facades can be used as landmarks.”
New areas include Austin, Texas, San Francisco County, Niagara Falls, NY and Orlando, Fla., to name a few, nudging the total number of Bird’s Eye areas past the 450 locations mark. A full list of the new areas and a sampling of the images produced by the imaging technology is available here.
Building on Bing’s existing sports search tools, Pro football fans can use the new NFL historical results feature to settle arguments. Meanwhile, a new historical weather search feature shows how weather patterns change over time in a given location.
Bing users who are staying put for the holidays can instead use the search engine to scope out Black Friday deals and keep an eye on their holiday packages with other recent updates.
Supplementing Bing Shopping’s deal search capabilities, Microsoft has gathered the Black Friday flyers from major U.S. retailers into a single page. Helping international users track the online deliveries that will soon be darkening their doors, Bing now supports package tracking from several delivery companies that operate outside the U.S., including Purolator in Canada.
Google, too, has been working to improve its mapping and product search offerings.
On Nov. 15, the search giant announced new updates that help users better plan and manage their travels. Google Maps product manager Liz Hunt noted that her group had “updated the driving, navigation, transit and explore maps to better highlight the information most relevant to each experience (think gas stations for navigation, train stations for transit, and so on),” in a blog post. “We’ve also updated our color scheme and added new icons to help you quickly identify exactly what kind of point of interest you’re looking at.”
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Google has also revamped its product search experience on mobile devices.
Product results now feature larger images and other details, including seller ratings and review scores. To help users make informed buying decisions, Google now displays links to online buying guides. On specific products, Google now shows comparisons between similar items from other manufacturers and alerts users when a newer version of the item has hit the market.
The company has also noticed an uptick in voice-based, everyday shopping. Similar to voice-ordering capabilities on Amazon’s Echo smart speakers, users are increasingly asking Google Assistant to find local stores where they can buy groceries and other essentials or purchase them directly online, the company said.