Microsoft has just launched some cool new features for its Bing Maps mapping service. Through partnerships with popular location-based game service Foursquare and classified ad service Oodle, Bing now has features that will you track on a map in real time where Foursquare users are doing check-ins and where available rentals are located.
The new features have currently been rolled out to a limited group of Bing Map users but will eventually be available in Bing Maps’ application gallery for all users.
Microsoft announced a variety of new plans and partnerships for Bing Maps last week, so the new features launched today are likely the first of many.
Speaking at the location-centered Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, Calif., this morning, Bing Maps’ architect Blaise Agüera y Arcas showed the audience a live version of the new Foursquare Everywhere feature running on the Bing Maps platform. He zoomed out of Bing Maps to a world view and showed how Foursquare check-ins were streaming in live, showing up as pinpoints on the map with the feed running in a sidebar.
Agüera y Arcas described the service as a “mash-in” rather than a “mash-up”, with Bing Maps working as a surface on top of which different applications and services can be integrated.
“With a mash-in model like this, the interaction is much more rich and fluid than with a traditional mash-up technique. With the mash-in model, everything is discoverable in one place. With a mash-up model, all the interaction is not there. For instance, you have to launch your own marketing campaign to promote your mash-up, and so on,” he explained.
The Oodle Rentals app maps rental housing on Bing Maps, and it works by pulling in Oodle data, letting users check out available rental housing.
Bing Maps also restructured itself slightly today. All of Bing Maps’ map coverage updates will be on the service’s new World Tour app from now on instead of bingmapsupdates. The World Tour app lets users view and navigate through images on a release-by-release basis, so you can view map updates from different moments in time. Earlier this month, for example, Bing Maps rolled out two imagery releases covering 6.2 million square kilometers around the world.
The World Tour app was originally launched as part of Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud services platform.