Bing Maps

Allows users to view maps and get directions

  • Category:

    General

  • Works under:

    Windows 2003 / Windows Vista / Windows XP

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Trial version
  • Vote:
    6.7 (199)

Microsoft Virtual Earth is a free Bing mapping service, somewhat similar to Google Maps and Google Earth. What Microsoft actually does is combine the best of Google Maps and Google Earth into a single, convenient package. It is another one of Microsoft's 'Microsoft Live' services.

The initial bird's eye overview upon loading Microsoft Virtual Earth is essentially the same as Google Earth. As you zoom in further, the map starts taking on more and more detail. Zoom in even further, and the map begins to take on an attractive 3D edge - in certain large cities, like San Francisco or Ponte Viccho in Italy. The 3D effects look great though, with an almost photo-realistic quality to them.

Users can also use Microsoft Virtual Earth to search for real time traffic conditions and business and white page listings for select United States cities. The "Locate Me" function is an interesting and convenient addition, allowing the map to zoom in on the geographical location you are currently in based on your Internet address. This removes the hassle of having to find your current location manually by typing or moving the mouse around.

Pros:

  • Microsoft's 3D imaging on maps is superb so far, where it exists.
  • Microsoft Virtual Earth has quite a few other useful features too, including real-time reports on traffic conditions and directions.

Cons:

  • Not as complete as Google Maps or Google Earth is in some areas. Attempting to use the "streetside" view in small, unpopulated towns, for example, has so far proven ineffective.
  • It lacks the dedicated userbase that Google Earth has.
  • Once again, Microsoft releases another product that is almost entirely focused on the United States. This is obviously a bit of a flaw for people who do not live in large US cities.

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