Another new look for Bing Maps

Bing Maps has rolled out a new look today to coincide with the “AJAX V7 Control”, eliminating the need for Silverlight to view enhanced Bird’s Eye map views.  Silverlight remains a big part of Bing Maps, powering Map Apps, including StreetSide, which has now been promoted (demoted?) to a Map App, but is more in keeping with the “basic maps in AJAX, map apps in Silverlight” theme.

First, the basics: the new look Bing Maps features a simplified “Left-Rail”, making it easier to get quickly to (driving/walking/transit) directions, traffic, businesses, or Map Apps:

Bing-maps-AJAX-V7-Birds-Eye_thumb Bing

As you can see, there are a number of changes, some more subtle than others.  The Left-Rail makes getting to the most used features of Bing Maps easier, including Map Apps.  The top toolbar has been updated once again, this time completely renaming one of the core features of Bing Maps, Bird’s Eye.

In a bit of a head scratcher, Aerial view has been renamed Bird’s Eye View, and Bird’s Eye view has been renamed “enable tilt”, ie: a checkbox within Bird’s Eye view now toggles between, umm, the feature previously known as Aerial view and Bird’s Eye tilt view. 

StreetSide, dependent on Silverlight but much more prominently featured in the previous version of the Bing Maps home screen, has been relegated to only one of (currently) 55 Bing Map Apps.  It doesn’t appear to get any kind of special billing at all, although it is still very cool Silverlight powered technology, featuring street side views, and nearby images pulled from Flickr:

Bing-Maps-Streetside_thumb Bing

We’re still waiting to see some of the promised innovations from Bing Maps and Streetside, including embedded video and indoor panoramas, and so we still expect big things to come from StreetSide.

The Silverlight powered Bing Map Apps are now reachable by anyone using Bing Maps, that is, you don’t have to run the beta Silverlight version of Bing Maps to have Map Apps links available.  You will of course still have to be running (or install) Silverlight to actually view or use the Map Apps.  Will this make the Silverlight powered Map Apps more discoverable, or would you prefer to see more prominence given to StreetSide?

You can read more about Bing Maps AJAX V7 on the Bing Maps blog.  No word on US/non-US updates, if you’re outside of the US are you seeing changes?