Bing has launched some changes to its Bing Maps street imagery with Streetside View. “With these updates you can quickly and seamlessly pan the neighborhood, check out a business down the block, or make a ‘u-turn’ to cross the street, among other things,” a Bing representative tells “So whether you need to see a straight, flat area in New York, or a steep, winding road in San Francisco, your online mapping experience is more immersive than ever.”
Today Microsoft rolled out a new version of its Streetside feature for Bing Maps that is getting some credit for at least taking a dissimilar approach than Google’s Street View. The major change is the removal of the 360-degree “bubble” view in favor of an approach that flattens out the images into a long horizontal strip for browsing quickly up and down the street.
“These changes represent a significant enhancement for desktop browsers, enabling you to quickly pan up and down the street to see the neighborhood and find businesses,” explains Bing’s Chris Pendleton. “We are doing this by providing street level panoramas so you can take a virtual walk through the streets with a view of locations and landmarks. As you slide the street level imagery sideways, the view of the sidewalk is seamlessly constructed including an overlay of business listings, street names and store fronts.”
“In the past you explored Streetside imagery by navigating between ‘bubbles or discrete 360 degree views, and moving down the street was accomplished by jumping from bubble to bubble. This works, but makes it difficult for you to get a sense for a larger area like a city block. Moreover, it’s hard to pick out storefronts farther away since you really only see the ones directly perpendicular to your viewpoint with great clarity,” says Pendleton.
“This new style, on the other hand, keeps the immersive experience but adds smooth left/right panning navigation that makes it easy to find what’s nearby more quickly. The street flows by as a series of smooth ground-level photographs so now you simply pan up and down the street to see the neighborhood and find what you are looking for.”
Bing has also added a “U-turn” button that lets users flip around to see the other side of the street. A thin map strip above the Streetside images informs you where you are on the map, but the incapability to move the marker to an exact spot is frustrating. The most immersive Streetside experience on the desktop is the one that’s available in the Silver light-enabled version of Bing Maps