Posted August 4, 2010 7:38 am by with 1 comment

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The battle of the search engines is now shaping up even more as bing works to update and improve its own maps delivery. As with anything, competition is good and this kind of effort will give Google a shove to stay on top of its maps game. It also helps to highlight some other aspects of this search ‘arms race’ that are kind of stupid but, hey, it’s the Internet so what would you expect!

Bing is upgrading its maps to do some fun things through its “King of Bing Maps Challenge”. Below is the taxi fare calculator feature that is pretty slick.

It’s always good to do something that the competition isn’t doing (read: Google) because when the competition (Google) does its own version it will need its spin-meisters to say that theirs was in development for years and they aren’t copying the competition etc., etc. It’s always fun to watch that half admission that they got beat at something.

One thing I will say though is that bing needs some work in the blog category because they are trying way too hard to seem ‘cool’. Check out the two paragraphs that surround the highlighted changes to their maps feature.

The maps themselves have quite a bit to them. I actually have a whole synopsis on rods and cones in your eyeballs enjoying the shading, tones and colors. The UX team went optometry on us! Here are some good talking points about the new maps when you want to brag to your friends that you know all about the new Bing map type (great for parties):

• Cool colors visually recede allowing warmer overlays to come forward – An elegant backdrop for information delivery and helps content ‘pop’ on the map
• Road color provides greatest differentiation scientifically from red, yellow, green traffic overlays.
• De-saturation on zoom allows more continuous transition to photographic material (Aerial, Birdseye, Streetside) and allows user to focus on street level detail better.
• Designed to work in black and white and to be differentiated by those with the most common forms of color blindness
• Crisp/easy to read font, larger font corresponds to larger roads
• Lower cognitive load – Less data / clearer details
• Improved international coverage: Data updates deliver improved road and street detail across Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East, Oceania and Asia.

Cool as a cucumber. The new Bing map type is like chewing a whole pack of Orbit mint gum while getting your entire body exfoliated with cucumber scrub in an ice chamber. Feels good, doesn’t it? We certainly hope you enjoy it.

Optometry on us? Cool as a cucumber? Body exfoliation? Great for parties? My suggestion would be less ‘comedy’, more pictures and try not to go into too much ‘geek-speak’ like “lower cognitive load”. Huh? All in all, though, it seems to be a strong move by bing to continue to challenge Google on every front.

One thing that Microsoft HAS to get over though? Not allowing users to access parts of the maps functionality (i.e. the bing Business Listing function) using Chrome. Grow up guys! It’s the petty nonsense like this makes you look like you will always be a distant second in these efforts.

I’m just sayin’ ……….

  • Chris Pendleton

    Sad you don’t like my sense of humor. I quite enjoyed creating a metaphor between how cool our maps are and the chill of exfoliation under freezing temps. And, FWIW, I’m not trying to be cool. I just am. Ah, well. I can’t make everyone happy. Thanks for the post, though.