Bing Expands Local Business Portal: Group Deals, Virtual Punchcards & New Print Collateral

bing-business-portal-logo Google may have most of the local traffic, but Bing's local business tools are running laps around Google's. When it launched in April, the Bing Business Portal already had outdone Google with several important features. Now, a new set of tools that Bing added within the past couple weeks puts it even further ahead of Google in many ways -- but not all. Here's a look at what's new in the Bing Business Portal (BBP). Group Deals The BBP has offered a basic Deals tool since April. These are straight-ahead, single customer deals like dollar-based or percent-based discounts. Now, local bu [...]

Bing’s New Airport Maps Aim To Make Air Travel Easier

bing-airport-maps-featured Finally, some good news for air travelers: Flying gets a little bit easier with Bing's launch of detailed U.S. airport maps. Much like the previously announced shopping mall maps, Bing's airport maps take searchers inside the airport to see things like gate locations, stores and restaurants on each concourse, restroom locations and more. Searchers will find the airport maps when they come across one of the 42 available U.S. airports on Bing maps. They're accessible more quickly by searching for the airport name or code (i.e., SEA for Sea-Tac International Airport). And Bing has als [...]

Bing Makes Bid To Become Top Deals Destination

bing-shopping-deals-featured When Bing launched deals several months ago its partner was deal aggregator The Dealmap, which was subsequently acquired by Google. That forced Microsoft to turn elsewhere for deals and today, as a result, we're seeing the launch of a new deals experience on mobile and the PC that pulls in content from a wide range of sources. The mobile deals experience hasn't really changed; you can see daily deals in  your selected area, as well as deals "nearby" and also browse deals by category. It's available via the HTML5 site and Bing apps. There's a new more comprehensive online [...]

Bing’s Streetside Now Appearing In The UK

In April of this year Microsoft announced that its visual mapping feature, Streetside, was making its way to Europe. The BBC reported at the time that cars mounted with the now familiar 360 degree cameras were driving around London collecting images. The fruit of that effort has now begun to appear. Microsoft previously said that it isn't going to try and map every street in every European capital. Rather it would concentrate on urban and more heavily trafficked areas -- a kind of 80/20 bet. In following Google into Europe Microsoft also benefits from the former's earlier missteps, [...]

Google Maps Becomes A Mini-Weather Center

It's one of those things that you almost wonder why it wasn't there before: current weather conditions on Google Maps. Well, Google has added current weather conditions around the world on Google Maps, and it's a helpful addition. The new weather layer can be turned on or off by clicking the options widget in the upper right corner of the map; "weather" is one of the new choices. Weather data comes from the US Naval Research Lab, and you'll see different cities as you zoom in or out on the map. In other words, as you zoom in, the weather layer will show conditions in smaller towns. [...]

Bing Maps The Mall

Today Bing added 400 shopping mall maps as part of a larger "venue maps" (indoor mapping) effort. A minor but useful addition to Bing Maps (especially if the initiative expands), users can now zoom in on any of the included malls and see the stores and related details for the various tenant retailers. This is the expansion of a product enhancement that was first introduced last December. It works both online and at, although I had some difficulty finding a mobile example this afternoon. Below is an example from the PC version of Bing Maps, a mall map for the San Francisco Cent [...]

Bing Maps Tweaks Its Navigation

Bing has announced a set of much-needed tweaks to the Bing Maps user interface. Rather than scattering navigation options both above and below (not to mention off to the side of) the map itself, all menu options are now accessible in a nav bar that stretches across the screen above the map. It's a much cleaner look and seems that it'll be easier to use, too. The new menu bar makes Bing's "Map Apps" much more visible than they've been, which could spur adoption of what are some pretty interesting tools/features. Also new is quicker access to Bing's "Bird's Eye" and overhead aerial im [...]

Microsoft Makes Mobile Bing More Social Too

bing-mobile-featured Yesterday during the SMX Advanced session called "Up Close with the Bing Business Portal," Microsoft's Andy Chu took a couple of minutes to announce a range of feature upgrades for the Bing mobile site ( as well as their expansion to the UK version of Bing for mobile browsers. Among these upgrades, a "Share on Facebook" capability has been broadly added to search results, local business listings and other areas. There's also a new "carousel" presentation for top that allows users to quickly flip through news headlines. It creates something like a "news cube" that spins with a mil [...]

Bing Maps Tweaks Streetside, But Silverlight Still Needed For Best Experience

Bing Maps has added what it's calling a "significant enhancement" to its Streetside product, but the best version remains the one that's only available with Microsoft's Silverlight plugin installed. According to today's announcement, the Streetside upgrades are both structural and functional. On the structural side, Bing has eliminated what it calls "bubbles" of street-level views and replaced them a more seamless collection of imagery. They did this by using technology from another Microsoft project called Street Slide, and the new desktop experience more closely resembles how Streetsi [...]

Microsoft Releases “Mango” Windows Phone Update, Will Consumers Bite?

Screen shot 2011-05-24 at 7.51.19 AM This morning Microsoft officially unveiled "Mango," its anticipated Windows Phone update with a dizzying array of upgrades and new features and developer tools. Microsoft emphasized the speed of its mobile browser, a range of new local search capabilities, Bing Vision (visual search like Google Goggles), "a smarter approach to apps" and new group messaging and email features. There were so many feature tweaks and improvements that it's difficult to summarize them all. The video below highlights the major changes and upgrades of Mango. The central question is will these changes make Wi [...]

Google Maps Vs. Bing Maps: Summer Vacation Planning Showdown

google-bing-maps-featured Wouldn't it be great if there was one mapping service that offers everything you need to plan a trip to somewhere you've never been? Sure, map sites are generally pretty similar. You can see maps, find business listings, get driving directions, see images and stuff like that. But it's actually more complicated than that. At least it was for me. My wife and I recently visited Maui, Hawaii for the first time. We spent a week on the island celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary and, after getting advice from all of our family and friends, we had enough must-sees and must-dos to fill a [...]

Bing Maps To Be Powered (Replaced) By Nokia?

bing-maps-nokia-featured I had a chance lunch with a person with close connections to Nokia about a week ago. Naturally we began talking about the outlook for the Microsoft-Nokia Windows Phone deal. He was hopeful but mindful of the risks for both companies. Our conversation eventually turned to a discussion of Nokia's mapping division Navteq and what role it would play in the relationship. He told me some things that I found basically shocking. Details Are Vague I had generally been aware that Nokia Maps would be a part of the deal somehow. (Nokia spent $8 billion to acquire Navteq in October, 2007.) However I h [...]

Bing Previews Plans For Local, Mobile Ad Options

Image via Microsoft At a time when competitor Google is focusing intensely on mobile and local, Microsoft's Bing is sharing plans for ad products that would go toward evening the score between the two biggest search players in the U.S. The company will introduce radius targeting for search ads, allowing advertisers to choose a specific five to 100 mile radius around an address. This will be available in all adCenter markets in "the coming months," according to a blog post by Dennis Glavin, the group product manager and lead on local search advertising for Microsoft. Google already offers similar targeting capa [...]

Bing To Become Default Search (And Maps) On RIM BlackBerry Devices

Bing To Become Default Search (And Maps) On RIM BlackBerry Devices According to a tweet from Michael Gartenberg Bing is going to be the default search engine on RIM BlackBerry devices. Apparently Steve Ballmer took the stage at BlackBerry World 2011 and announced that Bing and Bing Maps would be "integrated at the OS level" on BlackBerry handsets coming later this year. Bing for Mobile offers a generally strong user experience and this is an interesting effort at differentiation for RIM (vs. Android and iPhone). However, regardless of whose numbers you consult RIM has been losing smartphone share to Apple and Google over the past year. Below are the [...]

Bing Maps’ “Game Changer”: Hi-Res Aerial Imagery Coming To Entire US and Western Europe

bing-maps-aerial-featured Hot on the heels of last week's Read/Write World effort, Bing Maps has announced another ambitious project that will improve its imagery collection. It's called the Global Ortho Project and the goal is to provide consistent, high resolution (30 cms) imagery across every square inch of the United States and Western Europe by June, 2012. Some major cities and landmarks (like Cowboys Stadium above) already have hi-res imagery but, as any experienced online map user can tell you, the photos often get much worse in smaller towns and cities. No more, Bing says. In a video about the proj [...]

Bing’s Read/Write World: An Ambitious Project To Bridge Maps With Movies, Photos, Local Data & More

read-write-world-featured It's probably not something that you can wrap your head around pretty quickly. It's also not something you can describe in quick, easily digestible terms. "It" is a new Microsoft Bing effort called Read/Write World that has some pretty lofty goals: things like indexing and connecting all of the world's "geo-linked media." And not just indexing and connecting all this media, but also making it easy to use and consume, too, on any platform and type of device. It's stuff like maps, photos, panoramas, movies, business listings -- almost anything that can be tied to a physical location - [...]

Microsoft’s Photosynth Gets Its Own iOS App

Photosynth is one of the many cool-but-underpromoted-and-unknown aspects of the Bing Maps experience. That could change soon thanks to the launch this week of a Photosynth app for iOS devices. With the Photosynth app, users can create panoramic images inside the app -- no additional stitching software required -- and upload them directly into Bing Maps. (Or to Facebook if you prefer.) It looks better than I'm describing it, so watch at about the :20 mark of this Microsoft video to see how the app works. Video: Microsoft Photosynth App – April 2011 If users upload panoramas to Bing M [...]

In Challenge To Google Places, Microsoft Launches “Bing Business Portal” For SMBs

bing-business-portal-featured This morning Microsoft is launching the "Bing Business Portal" (BBP). It replaces the the Bing Local Listing Center, and all listings already there have already been migrated over. The BBP allows local business owners or their agents or designated representatives to claim and enhance listings with additional content including deals. Business owners can also add links to Facebook and Twitter. Here's what you can do in the Bing Business Portal: Claim, create, verify, and manage local business listings Identify key search categories where you want your listing to appear Customize l [...]

HP’s TouchPad To Use Bing Maps As Default

The Pre Central blog offered up some screens from the forthcoming webOS tablet, the HP-Palm TouchPad, which show Bing as the default maps provider on the device. The screens are reportedly authentic because they were obtained from the webOS 3.0 emulator. What this also suggests is that on HP-Palm devices beyond its TouchPad Bing could be the default mapping provider. (HP has a toolbar/default search deal with Microsoft.) Google was the maps application for the initial Palm Pre smartphones. That's not to say that Google Maps won't be accessible on new Palm devices via the internet/mobile [...]

Google, Microsoft Cooperate To Invalidate Broad Online Mapping Patent

It's reasonable to say that the world of technology patents is screwed up and headed for some major reform. One area in which this is very apparent is location/mapping/geo. There are a number of seemingly conflicting or contradictory local and local-mobile patents that have been issued over the past several years. Some of these patents were issued to small companies and some are owned or were acquired by giants like Google and Microsoft. Now Redmond and Mountain View have joined forces to fight a common foe: a small company in Texas that holds a potentially sweeping mapping patent. T [...]

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