Microsoft Adds Taxi Fare Calculator, OpenStreetMap, Color

Aug 4th, 2010 | By technologynews | Category: Technology

Microsoft has integrated a handful of new features into Bing Maps,
in yet another salvo in the applications long-running battle with Google Maps.
The additions include a Taxi Fare Calculator and a World of Football app that
displays soccer scores from around the world and zooms into stadiums. In
addition, Bing Maps is now rendered more colorfully, with dynamic information
that pops up whenever the mouse hovers over a particular location.

The more colorful and detailed maps are accessible only by
downloading the latest version of Silverlight. That newfound color and shading
includes de-saturation on zoom [that] allows more continuous transition to
photographic material and lower cognitive loadless data/clearer details,
according to an Aug.
3 posting on the Bing Community blog
. In addition, the updated maps improve
street detail in several international territories, including Central &
Eastern Europe and Asia.

The Silverlight experience has a combination of both raster
tiles and vector graphics rendered in the browser at run time, explains the
blog posting, as a highly technological way of saying that Bing Maps now looks
a lot prettier.

Bing Maps also feature a handful of new apps. By opening the
Map Apps tab on the bottom-left of the Bing Maps screen, and clicking on
OpenStreetMap, users can access an open-source project that leverages
crowd-sourcing to build geographical data into maps. Other new apps, including
Taxi Fare Calculator, World of Football, and a map of Microsofts Regional
Directors, are also accessible through that tab. 

For the New York City area, at least, the Taxi Fare
Calculator seems to give ballpark-correct amounts for the majority of tested

who live in Seattle may take an interest in the new Seattle Issues app
which offers information on civic hiccups such as water main breaks and
potholes. That app is apparently sponsored by, which encourages
residents to become active citizens in taking care of and improving their city
by seeing a non-emergency issue in their neighborhood, opening a ticket on the
SCF site, and commenting on when the issue is resolved.

CEO Steve Ballmer insisted during the companys July 23 Financial Analyst
that Bing was worth its sizable investment, despite lagging behind
Google in overall market-share.

Were not confused. Weve got a lot of work to do here,
Ballmer told the assembled analysts. Were not confused that investors see the
big price tag to get into this business and say, Whats the progress going to
look like on that.

Microsofts revenues for its Online Services division rose
last quarter to $565 million, even as it faced a steepening quarterly loss of
$696 million.

So were pushing ahead, Ballmer said. I cant tell you
that theres a point on the imminent horizon in which you can expect the
business results to flip, but I can tell you to expect to continue to see
really interesting work.

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