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Microsoft redesigns Bing Maps, adds a bunch of new features

Microsoft has announced that it has redesigned Bing Maps and that it is adding a bunch of new features to the service. The updates, which you can try out here, are now live in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa; Microsoft says that they will be rolling out the updates to more locations in the near future.

This is a big release for the Bing team as not only does it update the interface, but there are lots of new features built in as well. Below is the full change log of all the updates in this release or you can watch the video to get a highlight of the new items.

  • View information for multiple destinations with the new results cards: The Bing Maps Preview organizes your search results into “cards” that are displayed to the left of the map. The cards allow multiple destinations in a single view and each card displays relevant information, such as hours of operation, and similar businesses and services nearby. With every stop on your trip in one view, planning a night out is much easier.
  • Explore and plan using the new layout: The new Bing Maps Preview is touch-friendly and designed to be more intuitive. For example, choose your preferred map style (Aerial, Road) by clicking the button to the right of the map. Or, perform actions such as “save as favorite,” “add to route,” and “view streetside” by right-clicking on your screen.
  • 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 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.

While this update is one that you can see, the company also recently made several behind the scenes changes as well, including selling off part of the service to Uber. The company has also said that they will no longer collect their own mapping data and are now relying on third-party services to help keep their maps updated.

This update shows Microsoft's commitment to the platform as they take on competitors like Google Maps, Nokia's HERE Maps and also Apple Maps. While Bing Maps may not always be the first solution many users go to when they need to find their destination, the company has, over time, built a quality service and by consistently adding new features like today, the maps platform does have a few differentiators with which it hopes to attract and retain consumers.

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