The Bing Maps service recently received a major update this week with a slew of new features including draggable routes, a zoom bar, command parsing, embeddable maps, new navigation, and more. The updated Bing Maps also loads faster thanks to a reduced homepage size (it went from from 678KB to 484KB) as well as a feature called “dynamic computer” which loads the service from the data center closest to you.
The new draggable routes feature lets you customize the auto-generated route from point A to point B when using the Driving Directions feature. Now you can just grab anywhere on the route to move it around. After placing the route in the new position, Bing Maps will regenerate the route for you.
Another much-requested feature is the new embeddable maps option. You can now copy the embed code available from the “Share” button for any map and then paste the code into your website or blog. You can also further customize the map, if you wish using the “Customize View” option. This lets you adjust the height and width of the embed, choose from different map styles (aerial, aerial with labels, etc.), the map type (static or draggable), and more.
The Bing Maps search box is now smarter, too. It can understand what you want to see with less text input on your part. For example, if you want directions, you can just type the beginning destination, the word “to,” and then the end destination. For example, “Tampa, FL to Clearwater Beach, FL.” The begging or end points can even be a landmark or business listing, instead of an actual city or street. And if you’re just looking for traffic information, you can just type “[City] Traffic.” For example, “Tampa traffic.” This quickly brings up one of Bing’s unique features which shows the traffic times in your area using color-coded lines to indicate traffic speeds.
Other new features include improved zooming options, new navigational features, and “world wrap,” meaning that Bing Maps no longer stops at the international date line – you can keep moving around and around the globe while using the service.
For more details on the new options, check out the Bing Team blog post about the update.