Microsoft today launched a new interface for Bing Maps, the company’s Google Maps competitor. The Bing team mostly focused on changing the layout of toolbar at the top of the screen, which now consolidates virtually all of the features that were, as Microsoft puts it, “scattered throughout the page.” Bing Maps now also has some country-specific features, including access to more detailed public transit maps and Ordnance Survey-style maps of London for users in the UK, for example.
The Bing Maps Interface, before and after:
One of the features that has always set Bing Maps apart from its competition are Microsoft’s 45-degree Bird’s eye images that are viewable from all four compass directions. Microsoft acquires these through its Global Ortho Project and they are now more easily accessible from the redesigned navigation bar.
Updated Road Map Style
In addition to these interface changes, Bing now also sports a new style for its road maps. Based on extensive usability testing, Microsoft’s designers decided to highlight major roads with more distinct colors and tried to mark one-way streets more clearly. These new colors (and the fact that there are now casings on every road) also ensure that Bing’s hybrid aerial imagery/road map design is now easier to read.
You can learn more about all the changes to Bing maps in this document (PDF).