We made some updates to Bing Maps. In case it isn’t set as your homepage and you would like some additional context, I’d be happy to provide that for you. Here’s the bullet list:
Walking Directions – Everyone in NYC will be relieved that they can use Bing Maps because we now have walking directions. Walking Directions allows you to calculate directions between two points in a way that would allow you to walk down streets that wouldn’t necessarily be fit for cars. There is a limit to how far we will allow you to walk (about 20 miles) and we won’t allow you to walk on freeways, so don’t try (you probably shouldn’t do that anyway). Now you can generate directions based on how you might drive from point A to point B or walk from point C to point D.
Drag-able Routing Flags – I get a lot of people emailing about the fact that you can’t right click on the map to add a location to the map (you can do this in the Classic version of Bing Maps). Due to a limitation of Silverlight (no right-clicking) we just don’t have that feature (yet). So, if you do want to add an arbitrary flag onto the the map to add a location to your route, you can now do this by dragging the flag in the directions panel (on the left) and dropping it onto the map wherever your little heart desires. You can also drag the flags around the map to recalculate/adjust your route (that was there before).
Expanded Streetside Mini-map – If you’re surfing around in Streetside, you’ve always had the option to view the mini-map in the upper right-hand corner. This would give you a map interface to gain your bearings as to where you’re looking and in what direction. Based on user feedback, we’ve expanded the size of this map across the top of the Streetside image to take up with the width of the screen. Now, there’s no way you’ll lose your bearings.
Application Gallery Redesign – We’ve changed how we’re laying out the applications in the application gallery. As the gallery grows with applications, we’ll need to continue to ensure we’re providing the optimum user experience. First, we’ve separated the apps into two categories – “Staff Picks” and “All Apps.” Where do you think my foursquare app is going to land? You can also sort by a few different filters. By default the “Recommended” apps are shown. You can also filter the apps by “Newest,” “Title” and “Publisher.” There isn’t a whole lot of difference between the last few right now, but we’re built to scale out as needed.
Local Search Enhancements – Bing’s Local Search has improved performance and usability to of the Local Search experience. We’ve redesigned this experience and added a “nearby” option for getting you to your decision faster – we are a decision engine, after all. You can easily get details on the restaurants you’re interested in such as cuisine and payment types. You can also see suggested nearby places to expand your search without having to make unnecessary, additional queries. We’re broadening your horizons people! One last thing to call out that isn’t exactly new, but hasn’t been previously mentioned is that the filters on the left hand side of the category results page lead to 1-click filters of your results by price, atmosphere, etc. This leads to more informed decisions!
Just a few updates to keep you happy for now. More to come soon.
CP – Follow me on Twitter @ChrisPendleton