Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]
Bing just can’t stop getting better. Today Bing is annoucing a number of new features focused in two areas: mapping, and mobile search. These new capabilities demonstrate the desire of Bing to move away from the Google-style search format.
For Bing Maps, Microsoft is rolling out Streetside imagery, which is akin to Google Streetview, but will allow you to “figure out exactly where the door to the club is located.” Microsoft is also launching the Bing Application gGllery to provide “mash-ins” on top of the new Streetside interface.
Applications include the following:
- Twitter: You can now see tweets on the map from their originating location. Get realtime updates about events, breaking news, or even just tweets from your buddies about the quality of coffee at their favorite coffee house.
- Local Lens: Here we actually index local blogs from around the US and using the clues in the posts, try and place them physically on a map. You can use it to do things like see community happenings in your neighborhood. It’s an entirely new way to consume local crowdsourced information – something 72% of customers do routinely on the web.
- What’s Nearby: So you’ve found the address of the business meeting you have, but where can you go to sync up your computer before the meeting? With “What’s Nearby” we conduct implicit searches on your behalf to examine the physical canvas and show you types of businesses and services around your final destination. You don’t even have to query – we do it all for you in the background and bring back results sorted into categories so you can easily find the nearest coffee shop with WiFi.
Finally, Photosynth is being built into Bing. This will take time, but in the future, a combination of Photosynth and Streetside will provide an immersive three-dimensional experience.
On the other side of things, Bing has built a new mobile app for Windows Mobile phones (you can groan, it’s ok). Designed for Windows Mobile or not, you can reach it at m.bing.com. It encompasses faster search help, letting you type less, faster access to maps to allow you to get to a location more quickly, advanced local search, and “quick answers” to help you make decisions on the go.
There are no Windows Mobile devices within a mile of myself, so I have to take Microsoft’s word for it.
And as a final subnote, Bing now has its own search bar for Firefox and Internet Explorer. While I recommend against such bars (and advocate Chrome which does all that for you), if you want to download it you can here.
Bing is on the march, and Google must be sweating a touch under the full court press that Microsoft is waging against them. What do you think, is this enough to make you switch?
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