Microsoft is slowly transitioning Bing from its traditional desktop search origins, into a diversified platform with many extensions to varied types of searches. Microsoft would like to move Bing past the days of urging users to travel to Bing.com to do specific searches. Instead, Microsoft would like Bing to be a more naturally embedded experience across multiple platforms, and interactions. One area the Bing team is looking to expand further into is its mapping and transit efforts.
On the Bing Blogs site, the Bing Maps team offered us an update on the progress Maps is having. In the most recent post, the team informs us that Bing Maps has managed to obtain coverage of more than 3000 transit agencies across 30 countries. Starting with North America, Bing Maps can help commuters in 375 cities in the US and another 59 in Canada gather transit options. Some new features to the transportation options being offered are support for navigation for cross-country trips that include Amtrack, regional bussing and ferry information across the U.S.
Moving on to Europe, Bing Maps is also extending its coverage beyond just the UK. The new areas of target include national coverage of Estonia, Ireland, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland for now. The Maps team also notes, “In the rest of Europe, we’re adding cities and regions regularly. Some of our latest additions include Metz in France; Genoa and Pisa in Italy.” Much of the new information being obtained by Bing Maps is coming from Open Data initiatives. This form of crowdsourcing allows the Maps team to gather more local information that gives Bing Maps multi-modal and multi-agency options for users.
As far as the rest of the world goes, Japan, mainland China, and the island of Taiwan are also receiving Bing Maps coverage. In addition to the area, the maps team recently brought in coverage for the state of Victoria in Australia. Lastly, the Bing team is working to improve its coverage in many more areas including Israel, parts of Africa and South Africa; in the near future. Hopefully, the use of Windows Phone and the new mapping introduced in Windows 10 for phones helps the Bing Maps team gather even more vital transit information. Microsoft has an enormous task of getting many of their internationally offered services up to par with the offerings in North America. Historically, Microsoft has failed, but Microsoft may buck that trend at the end of this colossal transition the company is going through.