Ever since Google forced their new terrible Google Maps onto the world, millions of people have been looking for a way out. The only real competitor besides Apple Maps which isn’t available on PC desktops or non-iOS devices is Bing Maps, but Bing Maps still wasn’t better than even the new Google Maps, at least not from my experience.
However, this may all be about to change as Microsoft continues to roll out their new, redesigned Bing Maps. The new Bing Maps has some amazing new features, such as one click to find all the available restaurants or grocery stores, and the saving of searches.
Some other features I am excited about are the ability to preview street view without going into full screen street view, color coded searches, and even historical information and phone number, and open hours for businesses all in the same screen. Moreover, by right clicking on any destination, even a random place on the map, you can quickly get directions! This is really exciting! (On a side note, I was not aware before, but the new Google Maps does have this ability, although Google Maps does not have the additional features like street preview.)
I was very impressed by Microsoft’s new version of Bing Maps. It is really refreshing to have someone release an update on something that truly improves with new innovative features and doesn’t suck. Over the past 2 years, Google has been destroying all their products, from gmail to gtalk to google maps, and over consecutive years prior many other companies keep releasing awful new updates to everything that everyone hates.
Even Facebook pretty much killed themselves by forcing everyone to use the new Timeline, poorly paired with their IPO, and I believe that the Timeline update is the primary thing that killed Facebook. Before that, everyone was addicted to Facebook, but the forced terrible UI was what finally caused tens or even hundreds of millions of people to embrace Facebook’s demise due to their horrible privacy policies. Which, I believe, was a good thing for the world; in a time when even the NSA is spying on Americans, the last thing that people need is to have their whole life on Facebook where anyone can access it.
But I digress. Unlike the updates released over the past few years by many tech companies, the new Bing Maps is both refreshingly improved as well as implements some new and highly useful features. I think we may finally have a viable competitor for Google Maps at last!
Please keep in mind that the new Bing Maps is currently still under development, but you can try it out by clicking the yellow banner that says “Try the new Bing Maps!” that displays at the top of the current Bing Maps. However, it isn’t available yet for some devices like tablets and phones.
Another thing about the new Bing Maps is that it is simply beautiful. The colors are wonderful, and whoever their UI designer is, they really know what they are doing! This is a truly beautiful maps to use, and I love all the pastel colors. Plus, it makes very good use of color coding as usable UX functionality, which is impressive.
At the moment, it does lag slightly, but I am confident that when it is released it will be smooth as glass and quick as a rabbit being chased by a coyote.
Check out the Bing Maps Preview Redesign video from Microsoft which discusses some of the new features! I tested out the new maps, and it does live up to the expectations presented by the video. Finally, a big tech company does something right!