Google Maps has always been one of the most useful tools to get around unknown places or simply get directions while planning a route that would take less time based on traffic or public transportation. Street View is particularly useful as it lets you see the fa§ade of a certain place and the neighborhood surrounding it. Microsoft launched their mapping system not too long after Google introduced theirs and ever since has been one of its main competitors. Now, Microsoft's Bing Maps announced an update for the platform consisting in a redesign and some added features supposedly based on feedback they got from their users, but some features seem to take some inspiration from Google Maps.
First of all, the maps are now displayed in full screen with floating color-coded "cards" in the left side of the screen that display information like hours of operation or nearby services and even reviews from multiple places. The platform has also been updated to be more touch-friendly, as there will be a button for choosing the preferred layout and some actions like saving a place to favorites, adding a place to the route or view Streetside mode (similar to Google's Street View) will be accessible with a right-click.
There's an option to select the day and time when the user will take any given route and it will give a prediction of the traffic, so users can estimate the time of their arrival. Also, some places like restaurants, shops or gas stations along the way will be suggested based on the selected route. Now, users will be able to store their most visited places as well as their Home and Work destinations in a section called My Places, which will sync with Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana and with the Windows Maps app. Users can also share their routes with some others that might be interested via email and it will show the necessary cards on the desktop or mobile devices. Those interested in giving this service a shot and check out the enhancements can visit www.bing.com/mapspreview, as they are available today.