For the past week, all eyes have been on Google and their purchase of Waze. The search engine was lauded for outbidding competitors Apple and Facebook and wrote a check for $1.3 billion for the app. In all of this discussion of map app competitors, no one mentioned Bing.
Bing also has a maps service, and as of yesterday announced multiple updates including more Bird’s Eye View photos, updated venues, and a better way to report problems.
First and foremost, Bing has uploaded 270 terabytes of Bird’s Eye View imagery – what they equate to 100,000 DVDs. (For another reference, Flickr claims that you can take a picture every hour for forty years without filling one terabyte, so multiply that by 270.) The new imagery brings Bing coverage to more than 1,452,958 sq km of land, most of which is in America and parts of Europe.
Here is the current map of Bird’s Eye Imagery on Bing:
And here is the current map of Bird’s Eye Imagery on Google:
Bing also announced updates to their venue maps where users can search for different sections in stadiums, stores in malls, and places in various cities. Instead of searching for Chipotle in all of Boston through the search bar or by typing in the address, users can click on it in the alphabetical list of stores in Downtown Crossing.
Riding the crowdsourcing wave of Google and Waze, Bing has a new system where user can report problems and give updates. They can notify Bing about incorrect contact information, when a business closes, and whether or not there’s something new in the space or if it’s empty. It is the essence of “help us help you make maps better.”
A few months ago Google was raising a stink about the Swedish Language Council adding “ungoogleable” to its list of new words. It didn’t want to fall in the generic names bin along with Kleenex and Band-aid. According to the all-powerful search giant, you are only supposed to use the phrase “Google it” when you are actually looking something up on Google, not Bing, not Yahoo, not AltaVista.
These latest updates hardly revolutionize the world of map apps, but they may give Microsoft a little more news coverage to let the masses know that if Google ever fails, they can just Bing it.