Last week, Microsoft sold off some of its Bing Maps assets to Uber, and coming right after Satya Nadella’s “tough choices” memo, the future of Bing Maps seemed uncertain, or at least a little less solid. Today however, the company is unveiling a new look for Bing Maps with a completely redesigned Bing Maps Preview. Now, Bing Maps has been previewing a new experience since late 2013, but in this latest iteration, it looks like the preview tag may be finally getting close to coming off. First, take a quick look at the new experience, courtesy of Microsoft:
The new Bing Maps comes with lots of improvements and new directions, both literally and figuratively. Search results in the map are organized into new “results cards”. You can get multiple destinations on a single view, and get relevant information on the places you’re searching for, including hours of operation and nearby services.
The new layout is touch friendly, with map styles (aerial, road) available on the right side of the screen for easy thumb access, and a quick right click menu to “save as favorite” or “view streetside”.
There are lots of other improvements and visual upgrades, too, including:
Improved Search and Directions
- Plan travel times with enhanced directions: Nobody wants to be stuck in traffic. Using predictive routing, Bing Maps Preview includes the option to input the day and time you plan to travel so you can view the estimated drive time. Now you can easily adjust plans if the roads look crowded.
- Discover venues using Along the Route: Need to know where hotels, restaurants and gas stations are located on the way to your destination? Along the Route is the new feature that helps you find places you might want to stop at during your trip. Many have suggested this via Bing Listens, and we thank you for your feedback.
- Easily explore with improved Streetside views: The new split screen layout gives a great street-side view of your destination while displaying the map directly below it. Take a 360-degree tour of the area or drag your mouse along the map to view a new location.
- Save your destinations in My Places: We’ve heard from many of our users that it’s important to have a quick way to access their most-visited and most-loved destinations. We made this easy with My Places. In one click you can save a location under work, home or favorite. It will even sync with Cortana and the Windows Maps app.
- Share travel plans with others: Once you’ve planned your outing, share it with those who will be joining you. Your travel companions will receive an email with the set of results cards, which they can view on their desktop or from a mobile device. And speaking of mobile, stay tuned for updates coming to the Bing Maps mobile experience.
You can take a look at the new experience just by going to Bing Maps Preview, which is available now in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and South Africa, with more markets on the way. The “Along the Route” feature is only available in the US.