Search is a core feature of Bing Maps because we understand how important it is to find places of interest quickly and easily. That’s why we made search a focus in the new Bing Maps Preview*.
Search within Bing Maps includes the ubiquitous “search box”. It also includes auto-suggest, which offers various suggestions as you type. Once you submit a search, you get back search results for businesses, places or attractions which are also shown as points on the map, with more detailed information available if needed. Finally, search is also used to find waypoints when getting directions.
If you’ve used Bing Maps in the past, you may have noticed that the search experience and results you saw differed from bing.com. Also, some markets supported two search boxes rather than one, which made searching harder to use than it needed to be. We’ve now addressed these issues and are enhancing search in Bing Maps in various other ways.
- Single search-box everywhere: The previous version of Bing Maps supported two search boxes (for typing in what you wanted to search for, and where you wanted to search for it) in a number of markets, and this is the top voted issue on Bing Listens. Bing Maps Preview will have a single search box in all supported markets!
- Search quality: Search consistency has improved with Bing Maps Preview, the Windows 10 Maps app and bing.com all using the same search engine. The relevance of search results has also increased, and richer information is provided to Bing Maps for businesses, places and attractions. For example, the screen shot below shows the details returned for San Francisco in the previous version of Bing Maps and in Bing Maps Preview.
- Auto-suggest: Multiple improvements include using auto-suggest to select waypoints for directions; displaying icons for suggestions to better identify what they are, and including category searches in the list of suggestions (for example, if you type in “Italian”, one of the suggestions includes “Italian cuisine”).
- Additional search results: When you search in Bing Maps Preview, you’ll see up to 20 matching results shown on a card. When there are additional search results, we show them as smaller points on the map along side the larger points associated with the results card, and clicking or tapping on them will display additional details about them. We’ll be extending support for showing these smaller points to additional markets in the near future, so more Bing Maps users can benefit from them.
- Search in directions waypoints: While auto-suggest can be used to find waypoints in directions, you can also just type something into a waypoint and search will be used to find a matching location.
- Directions and traffic search: It’s now easier than ever to obtain directions by typing into the search box, just like on bing.com. For example: “directions from Seattle to Portland”. In Bing Maps Preview, you can even specify the mode of transport by adding it to the end: “directions from Seattle to Portland by transit”. If you want to see what traffic is like, you can just type in “traffic in Portland” to enable traffic mode on the map.
- Searching along the route**: It’s now possible to search for things of interest close to a route, for example, restaurants and gas stations, making planning a trip much easier. Search along the route will be covered in more detail in a future blog post.
- Searching across bing.com and Bing Maps: When you search for a place on bing.com and navigate to Bing Maps Preview, the same place will show up in both locations, which wasn’t always the case with the previous version of Bing Maps.
There is always room for improvement in search, and we’re continuously enhancing data accuracy and freshness, adding new information and updating existing information frequently. Please send us feedback about any search issues you encounter or any ideas about how to further improve the search experience in Bing Maps Preview using the feedback link in the site, or at Bing Listens.
– The Bing Maps Team
*Bing Maps Preview is currently available in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa, and will be available to more markets in the near future.
**Along the Route feature currently only available in the United States.