Friday, 5 March 2010

Bing Maps Adds Streetside Microsoft adds Google Street View-like Feature To Bing Maps, Lots Of App Support

Microsoft and Google have been going head-to-head lately in a number of
areas. From word processing, to mobile operating systems, Google and
Microsoft have been trying to compete in what appears to be a corporate
one-ups. Microsoft has now a
dded a very Street View-like feature to their Bing Maps.
Streetside, as the Bing Maps Street Map equivelent is called, is powered
by Silverlight (as opposed to the AJAX coding that Google Maps uses).
The coverage area isn't great yet, but probably as good as Street View
was at this point in its life.
The real neat advantage that Streetside has over Street View, is that
instead of the Star Wars-like jump to lightspeed effect that Street
View has when you jump from frame to frame (for example, when cruising
down the street), Streetside does it much differently. Streetside
creates 3d models of the buildings andย surroundingsย and (tries) to
smoothly slide you down the street.
Now, I tried Streetside and yes – the buildings did glide smoothly
but cars, people on the sidewalk, mailboxes, weren't rendered in 3D and
still had the 'jump to lightspeed' effect. I don't know if this is a bug
or just a result of the area I was Streetsiding in. Also, in general,
Streetside is slower than Street View. I don't know if this because
Streetside is in the news today, or if it has to do with the Silverlight
back-end vs. Street View's AJAX design.
Bing Maps also uses Microsoft's cool Photosynth tech, where a lot
(usually over 100) digital photos are combined together to create one
large photograph or panarama. On Bing Maps, they show up as a green icon
and usually are around landmarks or something of that nature.
Bing Maps comes with a ton of 'Map Apps', which will show up on a new
overlay on the map. For example, a 'Twitter Maps' app, if activated,
will show you were people are twittering from around the world. A
'Travel Webcam' App, will show you webcams from popular vacation hotspots.
While Bing Maps isn't as refined as Google Maps, it has some cool, new
features. Let's hope that Google and Microsoft continue to try to best
each other with these cool mapping sites, as us users benefit from more
features.
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