Home > Computers and Internet > Bing Maps Streetside shows more data

Bing Maps Streetside shows more data

I don’t know when this happened, but over the weekend I checked out the Streetside feature on Bing Maps, and it’s changed. The first thing that surprised me about this is changes like this are usually accompanied by press releases and I’ll pick up on them through the different tech blogs I follow. I did not see this change coming. In all fairness Streetside on Bing maps isn’t something one turns to regularly due to how few streets it actually covers. That may be due to the fact of the emphasis on Birds Eye view (http://blogs.forbes.com/quentinhardy/2011/04/27/bing-maps-aerial-victory/), a feature I do take regular advantage of.

When Streetside was first released it had a certain “wow” factor to it. Moving from one scene to the next involved transformations that had a morphy, photosynthy, look to them. It was also useful when helping my wife with driving directions because I could take her to the exact spot where she’d need to turn, and hopefully by seeing the view first on Streetside she’d have a better chance of finding that point when actually going there. The current Streetside has less of a “wow” factor to it. There aren’t cool, visual transitions, but I have a feeling that it’s much more useful.

The way it looks now is instead of being immersed in a 3D world, you have a choice of looking at the street from only two angles. You can only look at one side of the street, or the other, not down or up the street. The views of the sides of the street are much more panoramic, which resulted in some dead space, which is now taken up with more information. There’s now a much larger street map, so you can see exactly where you’re looking, and under the different buildings it lists what the building is. So now instead of hoping you can make out the sign on the building, there’s easy to read text beneath the picture. Adjoining streets are also pointed out in a clearer fashion, similar to the buildings.

Overall I’d say it was an improvement. Hopefully the Bing team will be able to figure out a way to give it the “wow” factor back. My idea would be to add it as a zoom level. Someone transitions from Map, to Birds Eye, and can keep on zooming into Streetside.

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