Microsoft And Nokia Unify Maps On PC, Mobile

Microsoft and Nokia announced the fruit of their recent mapping collaboration today. Each company has a blog post describing what’s changed and improved (Bing, Nokia). The effort comes out of the companies’ strategic partnership in mobile. As part of that arrangement Microsoft is relying heavily on the Nokia-Navteq mapping and data infrastructure. Nokia for its part has made Ovi Maps much more Bing-like in appearance.

Essentially the UI has been simplified, colors have been muted and there’s an improved “visual hierarchy” at each level of zoom. It’s challenging for me to specifically tell what’s new on Bing Maps, however. Here’s more from a Microsoft spokesperson:

This week, as an extension of the Microsoft-Nokia partnership, a new joint map design will begin rolling out across Bing Maps, Nokia Maps and Windows Phones. This unified map style will feature key elements from Microsoft’s metro design, including strong typography, improved readability and a clean user interface to help people find and use mapping information more quickly. As part of the update, Bing Maps will also be improving its global mapping coverage in countries such as Egypt, Israel, Venezuela and many others, refreshing the maps with new roads, subdivisions and additional refinements.

The new mapping UI and features will appear on both companies’ PC and mobile sites. While there are still UI and user experience differences between Bing Maps and Nokia Ovi Maps, the look and feel is very close.

Below is comparison of maps on Bing and Nokia in response to the query “San Jose Convention Center,” where I am now at SMX West:

Bing Maps

Nokia Maps

For comparison purposes, here are Yahoo Maps (also powered by Nokia) and Google Maps results for the same query.

Yahoo Maps

Google Maps

The new Bing-Nokia maps are less visually cluttered than Google or Yahoo Maps. But some may equally characterize that as a “washed out” quality. Indeed, the assessment of the new mapping UI for Bing and Nokia will depend on your subjective aesthetic preferences.

Whose maps do you prefer?

Related Entries

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Maps & Local | Microsoft: Bing Maps & Local | Microsoft: Bing Mobile | Search Engines: Maps & Local Search Engines | Search Engines: Mobile Search Engines | Yahoo: Maps & Local

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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