Originally launched as MSN Virtual Earth on July 24, 2005, renamed to Windows Live Local in December that same year and re branded under its current name on June 3, 2009, Bing Maps is a web mapping service from Microsoft, being a part of its Bing suite of apps.
Through Bing Maps, users can browse and search street maps for a lot of cities around the world, maps which highlight each city’s points of interest, such as stadiums, hospitals, restaurants and metro or train stations, among many others.
Also, users can create and publicly share for others to see their own points of interest. Maps can be rendered in 5 different styles: Road View, Bird’s Eye View, Aerial View, Street Side View and 3D View. By default, all maps are rendered as Road View maps, which is a topographically-shaded style.
Being in a continuous state of change, users can subscribe to RSS feeds in order to keep up with the latest contributions to specific areas from other users.
Also, since September 2010, users can get directions between two or more places for their selected method of transportation (car, walk, bus, subway or local rail).
However, as of July 2019, transit directions are only available in 11 U.S. cities and a few other cities in other countries: Austria, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Spain.
In order to enhance their Bing Maps experience, users can add additional functionalities from a collection of 1st and 3rd party apps available to them. Such functionalities include, but are not limited to things such as: parking finder apps, taxi fare calculator apps, or apps that find Facebook friends’ locations on Bing Maps.
More, Bing Maps helps drivers with real-time data through its ClearFlow technology. Powered by artificial intelligence, ClearFlow provides useful real-time data to drivers in order to help them avoid traffic congestion. It does this by providing them with alternative routes, anticipating traffic patterns and weather conditions and is currently available in 72 U.S. cities.