Fun with Bing Maps: Tweeting on the Road, Bing in Japan, more

Looks like Google took the latest round in what’s becoming an entertaining game of one-upsmanship, announcing Google Goggles and real time results, but we’ve been spending too much time playing with Bing Maps to notice.  While we haven’t found any drunk guys on the lawn (yet), and have been generally very impressed with the Bing Maps beta so far, we’ve come across some fun stuff.

One of our alert readers was playing with the Bing Maps Twitter App (you can get to the Map Apps by clicking the right arrow at the bottom of the Bing Maps Beta sidebar:

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Anyway he noticed quite a long line of tweets, somewhere in Ohio:

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Luckily this time from the sounds of the tweets the trucker was in the sleeper cab, but still, no tweeting while driving, mkay?

Then apparently Vasudev asked Stephan Weitz (Bing Director) why Bing Maps of Japan are only in Japanese, which got us exploring:

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and indeed, the titles for Japan are in Japanese.

Chris Pendleton responded to Weitz’s tweet:

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Which seems like a highly unusual circumstance, and certainly not very useful (and so probably not long lasting).  In fact, in the Bing Maps beta as you scroll back through the resolutions, there is indeed a fleeting glimpse of English titles for Japan.  Oh well, this is a beta (although the Japanese titles appear in the non-beta version, too).  Happy to pass along any official explanation, guys.

Update: Chris responded to my tweeted question:

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Interesting.

And just to tack on some Bing Maps news that slipped by us, Bing has contracted with Navteq, “a world leader in premium-quality digital map data and content”, and provider of many of the Bing Map images, to provide more Streetside images.  From the Bing Maps blog:

You see, while Navteq is out there collecting the best of breed road information inclusive of speed limits, bridge heights, turn restrictions, one way streets (you know, important information so you don’t get killed navigating with their data) we figured it prudent to strap a few cameras on their vehicles to record some photos. How’s that for scaling out? Plus, we’ll be doing monthly releases of Streetside photos similar to how we process and release monthly aerial photos and satellite imagery. And, what better camera technology to use than the Microsoft Vexcel UltraCam technology? Well, there isn’t one – it’s the best on the market. And, now, Navteq has them in a “new technology partnership between the two companies…to mutually invest in the development of advanced collection capabilities that will accelerate the collection, creation and storage of 3D map data and visuals.

Looking forward to the monthly updates, Streetside is fun!