Today at the TED conference in Southern California, Microsoft’s Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrated a new crowdsourced-version Bing Maps that integrates photos and even live video that is shared by others. Microsoft will also soon launch what we’ve dubbed “Bing Sky,” the ability to use Bing to look up in the sky and see what’s in space above. Bing also has a blog post with the news.
It’s the live video that will likely cause the most buzz from today’s news. During the demo, Bing streamed video live from Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market into a static picture of the market, as viewed through Bing’s StreetSide street-level view.
The video flowed seamlessly as the person with the camera scanned around the market. You could see an old static picture:
get replaced with a group of people moving around live (they even passed around a crab):
The video is that tilted rectangle you see above. Here are two more examples that show the video image being inserted into the correct location of a static image:
Want to see live video in Bing yourself? That’s not ready yet. As Microsoft blogged, “stay tuned” for news:
At TED we also demonstrated live Webcam feeds perfectly which enables real-time video to be overlaid seamlessly on street-level imagery, adding another dimension to the mapping experience. Imagine – you can see how long the line is at Five Guys before you head over for a burger. In the coming year, we think you will be pleasantly surprised with how far Bing takes this new technology. Stay tuned.
Aside from live video, Bing is integrating Flickr pictures correctly within the right locations for StreetSide photography. That’s live now, for those using a new Bing Maps app (here). From the Microsoft blog post:
This tech preview mines geo-tagged photos from Flickr, and relates them to our Streetside imagery to show images matched to its original spatial context. Why is this cool? You’re now able to see what that club looks like at night (is it really THAT scary?), see if you’re really going to get a good sunset at that B&B you’re looking to book, or check out the crowds on a Saturday morning at Pike Place Market in Seattle or get a view of the same market from decades prior
The video below from Microsoft also demonstrates how the integration works:
Bing also announced that in the near future, it would allow people using StreetSide to look “up” virtually and see what’s in the sky:
But we’re not just stopping at the street. Today, we’re also excited to demonstrate integration with the WorldWide Telescope, a project out of Microsoft Research. Once launched, you will be able to walk outside in Streetside mode, look up, and see what’s above – way above – right now where you’re standing. Constellations come to life as you pan – you can even set the time of day so you can see what you’ll see at 9pm – great for exploring with your daughter to get her ready for what she’ll see when the sun goes down.
We’ve dubbed this Bing Sky, after Google Sky. That service launched in 2007 (see Google Sky: Search The Stars With Google Earth Sky) and isn’t the same thing. It actually allows people to do virtual tours in space. Still, the Bing news takes Bing closer to the Google Sky approach. It’s also similar to the Sky Map application that Google announced last year for Android.
Microsoft also highlighted its many map applications available for Bing, for those using the Silverlight version:
Our past posts, Bing Maps Steals The Cool Crown From Google and Satellite Images Of Haiti Earthquake From Google & Bing Maps cover these in more depth.
Microsoft calls the capabilities of the enhanced Bing Maps “spatial search” because it ties search results and content to the real world (or an image of it) and puts those results in geo-spatial context. This is another take on what Yahoo calls a “web of things.”
Right now all of this doesn’t work on mobile devices, but these capabilities and new forms of content in maps should be considered a PC based version of “augmented reality.
Postscript: You can now view the demo at TED in the video below: