All right, let’s admit it: we had to see at least part of this coming. Microsoft Live search had maps with bird’s eye view and even the equivalent of Street View in some places, and we all had to know that eventually that product would get rolled over to the Bing brand, too. Well, now that’s happening: but Bing wants to take it to the next level.
And, of course, the best, most obvious way to take maps to the next level is to add Twitter. Everything is cooler with teh social, right? Now in beta, Bing Maps uses the same Silverlight technology that Microsoft Live Maps did, including directions, street-level views and even museum tours—but now with Twitter’s geolocation API, they have a “mash in” to add Tweets (so not only can you see the mummies, you can also read 19 Tweets saying how boring they are).
Other “maps apps” include traffic, what’s nearby, hyperlocal content, 3D images from Photosynth, webcams, roadside attractions, restaurants, public artwork and . . . graffiti (really?).
The street level views (called Streetside) are obviously not as complete as Google Maps’.
Bing (No coverage outside the continental US; the blue dude is just the cursor):
Google (just in the US; they’re in more than a dozen other countries, too):
What do you think? Will Twitter and museum tours be enough to get a leg up on MapQuest and Google Maps?
Correction: Live Maps rolled over to Bing Maps in June. Although Microsoft launched Silverlight over two years ago, the Silverlight features are a new addition to Maps. Don’t you feel so much more informed?