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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bing Maps Adds Street Level View

Microsoft has enhanced its Bing search engine with several new capabilities, including a street level view that takes users inside public buildings, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The new "Streetside" view is an addition to aerial and angled "Bird's Eye" views on Bing Maps. As you navigate, an Automatic option switches to the optimal view for your current position, using Microsoft's Silverlight plugin to deliver dynamic visual Web content. Streetside is similar to Google's Street View, but Microsoft has not photographed quite as many streets as Google.

By comparison, Google offers checkboxes to show photos, webcams, Wikipedia entries, and real estate listings. But in Bing the apps are a more full-fledged feature, and it's a surprising instance of Microsoft offering a more open platform than Google, in which third-party developers can add their own apps to the map platform.

Microsoft has also updated its mobile search site and is announcing new apps for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry. The company is also working on a Bing iPhone app, but that is not yet available.

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