Genius new feature on Bing Maps – apps
I’m sure that most of you reading this will know that Bing Maps released a new beta site yesterday that uses Silverlight to provide a fantastic map viewing experience including a really quite stunning experience called StreetSide.I must say, I’ve been expecting and waiting for this for a long long time now as I blogged about it back in July 2008 and followed up again in June of this year with:
there hasn’t been in any new moves from Microsoft in the 3D arena but the lack of news has not dampened my conviction that they are planning something big in the not too distant future
So, I’m delighted that these features that have been alluded to for some considerable time now have finally seen the light of day. My friend Mark Mann has an excellent expose of all the features over at his blog in case you’re interested, go check it out.
What I really wanted to talk about though was a new feature they have introduced called apps:
Apps are little “programs” (for want of a better word) that add data onto a map, there are apps for hotels, webcams, traffic cameras, local news and various other things. What I find fantastically compelling about this though is that they open up the ability for 3rd parties to provide apps through Bing Maps.
Stop and think about that for a minute. I’m sure many of you are familiar with layers in Google Earth, right? Well imagine if anyone could add their own custom layers to maps and they could show up for other people to use at http://maps.bing.com. There are some fantastic possibilities for this and here are a few ideas that have sprung to my mind:
- Rightmove.co.uk could provide an app that enables you to view houses for sale in a certain area. The real beauty of this is that rival websites would hopefully be driven to provide the same thing and then we could do something we can’t do today – compare houses from different providers on the same map. Very cool indeed.
- Ticketmaster could provide an app that shows all upcoming concerts in an area
- The Post Office could provide an app that shows where all their post offices and letterboxes are located
Will we see the rise of the phrase “there’s a geo-app for that”?
There’s so much data out there that has some aspect of geo-location – we now have a platform where all that data can be harnessed and presented to us for our consuming pleasure. I only hope that the 3rd parties jump on board. Do you have any ideas for apps that people could build?
Can you tell I’m excited about this?