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back to article Microsoft's Bing bods exploit fanbois' Apple maps misery

Microsoft’s Bing team is taking advantage of Apple’s map app misery to make a push for Redmond's own cartographic efforts. In a cheeky blog post here, Microsoft invites iPhone 5 users to use Bing Maps to get around instead of Apple’s own shoddy substitute for Google Maps. The blog is titled Just Got a New Phone? Time to …

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Anonymous Coward

Haha....if I search for 'HSBC' here in Hong Kong...i get taken to an office in Buffalo NY. Love my Lumia, but couldn't cope without the gMaps app!

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Anecdote for an anecdote, I've just typed in HSBC on my own Lumia 710 here in the UK, and it immediately picked out the two nearest branches to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Wow to Mr h4rm0ny

Looks like that saves the day then? If it only explodes 50% of the time it's safe? Oh, or you know, if someones map app only works 50% of the time then what? What about 90%? Most people will stop using it if it only works 99% of the time.

So what do you expect users in Hong Kong to do?

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WTF?

Re: Wow to Mr h4rm0ny

Hey AC,

I've just performed the same search on my Lumia 800 and it's got the closest branches (7 of them, including the HQ clearly labelled as such - I'm in Canary Wharf), so that's a 66.666666666% success rate for WP7.5. Is that approaching iOS6 levels of reliability yet?

I'm afraid I can't afford the air fare to HK to test there. I hear the iOS 6 maps are working great for china, so perhaps that's a solution?

"Most people will stop using it if it only works 99% of the time."

As a user of both Android (Google & Co-Pilot maps) and Lumia (Bing and Navteq maps - although I think Bing is powered by Navteq data) I'd be ecstatic if they were as much as 99% reliable!

Either way, I'm glad to be a part of this scientific survey.

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Re: Wow to Mr h4rm0ny

"So what do you expect users in Hong Kong to do?"

Use something else, probably. It's not rocket surgery.

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MIc

Re: Wow to Mr h4rm0ny

@AC I doesn't seem like you understand what anecdotal means.

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FAIL

Oh Gavin

The sideswipe at Nokia in this article too?

Without mentioning how much of Bing Maps is actually powered by Nokia (and thus Navteq) maps?

http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/25/nokia-traffic-comes-to-bing-maps/

Research. It's not hard. You can even get your morning chubby from doing your research via Google on your 90% iPhone5.

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Why bother?

Can't comment on phone/tablet apps - but the main reason to use Bing maps in the UK is that they provide the only good access to the OS maps at 1:50000 and 1:25000 - the only maps I know of with contour lines available online and for free. I trust that the mobile versions provide similar functionality?

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Megaphone

Re: Why bother?

Cut out the middle man.....

http://www.getamap.ordnancesurveyleisure.co.uk/

and

http://blog.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/2011/09/mapping-applications-for-your-phone/

Ironic in this case that they use MS technology but you cant have everything ;)

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Re: Why bother?

Neil

Streetmap.co.uk also does OS maps 1:50k and 1:25k. Best bit of that is its ability to convert lat/long to OS grid (or any other co-ordinate type you can think of). I am unaware of another mapping website that does that.

For paid software go for the expensive and somewhat obtuse in use memorymap.

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Re: Why bother?

@ Flatspot - aha. I used to use getamap years ago, in spite of the horrible interface - but when I tried it recently I failed to observe the 'leisure' button which must be pressed to get the 'proper' OS result.

Still only uses half the screen for the map, though (unless you're a subscriber - see plans and pricing).

Shame somehow that as we (the UK taxpayer) has paid for this information that it's not as freely and easily available as, say, google maps...

Thanks for the link, though.

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Re: Why bother?

Unfortunately the OS maps are not available on the iPhone bing app. or on the bing mobile web site.

I got memory-map app so I can use the OS maps

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Re: Why bother?

The argument is that we'd have had to pay one hell of a lot more for the maps if the OS wasn't able to exploi the data commercially. See also: Met Office, Hydrographical Office.

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Unhappy

OS Grid and Lat/Long

Perhaps you never saw Multimap (before Microsoft bought it and 'merged' it into Bing maps, or rather, the b'stards scrapped Multimap around 2010 and lost all its best features).

See http://is.gd/HU14_3LA

(link to Archive.org for Multimap page showing postcode area HU14 3LA)

The web archive may not show the map image (showing the location of a Bed and Breakfast - now closed in case anyone claims this is to advertise) and below the map you can see it shows a variety of data:

Address: HU143LA

X:500000 m Y:426100 m 53:43:18N, 0:29:12W (Postcode) Grid Ref:SE999260(accurate to 100 metres)

Web Address:

http://www.multimap.com/map/browse.cgi?X=500000&Y=426000&scale=10000&coordsys=gb

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Trollface

I have to say Gavin that when it comes to "slight sarky"..............

"If Microsoft cares, though, it should to do more to woo them than merely penning a slightly sarky blog post on a relatively obscure Microsoft web page. "

.................and having read through your article I am obliged to say, "kettle meet pot".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I have to say Gavin that when it comes to "slight sarky"..............

Comment of the week. :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I have to say Gavin that when it comes to "slight sarky"..............

But it doesn't make him wrong though, does it?

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Anonymous Coward

I wish the mapping companies would agree a standard for map links, that way all companies could easily be found no matter what you use for a mobile..

right now I find most companies using Bing don't have a nice link to click that works with my built in Google maps app, and that annoys me as they also don't usually have a nice easily selectable address visible either!

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Bing allowed on Apple Appstore?

I'm confused - I thought Google would not be allowed to put a maps app on the Apple store even if it wanted to due to Apples rule about duplicating functionality built-in. So how come you can get a Bing app for the iPhone?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bing allowed on Apple Appstore?

Since Apple started fearing that it had jumped the shark, and Microsoft became an also-ran, they seem to be frenemies* once more, just like they were when MS used to bankroll Apple to pretend not to have a desktop monopoly, back in the bad old days.

I think it might be part of the "my enemy's enemy.." strategy, Apple will cut slack to anyone prepared to stick it to Google, the gloves are really off. God knows what happens when Google's own maps app for iPhone is submitted for App Store approval.. the situation is just far too crazy to call, no matter where your loyalties lie. There are upsides and downsides for both camps in both its rejection and acceptance. This gets more complex when you realise that the subtext to the whole row is that Google refused to let Apple have access to the turn by turn voice nav data in their awful Google Maps client, as they didn't like Apple's refusal to allow them to layer their other data layers over the top of the map (various Google location service stuff).

Essentially, the situation is way more tangled than either set of angry fans seem to realise. I can't call it, and don't pretend I can. I will be ready with the popcorn, though.

* I know, an awful word, but imagine a sneeringly ironic tone of voice while saying it, and it's almost OK.

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Re: Bing allowed on Apple Appstore?

Your post is pure supposition. As far as I am aware, Google has not released a substitute maps app for iOS6, yet. Nor has there been any reporting yet that they have tried. So suggesting that Apple has refused to allow it, is wrong. If they've allowed a Bing maps app, then they will almost certainly be obliged to allow a Google maps app.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bing allowed on Apple Appstore?

"Your post is pure supposition"

No it isn't, if you haven't been living under a rock for the last month or so. All grounded quite nicely. Thank you for playing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bing allowed on Apple Appstore?

"So suggesting that Apple has refused to allow it, is wrong"

Wow, reading comprehension really is not your strong suit, is it?

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Re: Bing allowed on Apple Appstore?

"No it isn't, if you haven't been living under a rock for the last month or so. All grounded quite nicely. Thank you for playing."

As far as I am aware, Google has not released a maps app for iOS6 and Apple have not blocked it. So I am correct in what I say unless I am misinformed on either of these.

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Re: Bing allowed on Apple Appstore?

Your ability to read tenses seems to be.. somewhat flawed. Still, your ability to mewl pettishly while failing is second only to Orlowski's :)

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Re: Bing allowed on Apple Appstore?

"Your ability to read tenses seems to be.. somewhat flawed. Still, your ability to mewl pettishly while failing is second only to Orlowski's :)"

I can read the tenses fine. I pointed out two things - that what was being talked about had never happened, and therefore talk that it would happen in the future was (without evidence) supposition. I don't know why you think I can't read tenses, but perhaps you saw me saying that something had never happened and didn't understand that I was saying if it had never happened, then what was the evidence that it would happen? Indeed, as MS have been allowed to produce a mapping app for iOS6, Apple are obliged to allow Google to also do so.

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Re: Bing allowed on Apple Appstore?

Indeed, as MS have been allowed to produce a mapping app for iOS6, Apple are obliged to allow Google to also do so.

They're not obliged to do any such thing. They have every right to simply say 'No' to Google without any justification whatsoever, if they choose to do so. And until someone takes Apple to court, they will retain that right.

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Re: Bing allowed on Apple Appstore?

"They're not obliged to do any such thing. They have every right to simply say 'No' to Google without any justification whatsoever, if they choose to do so. And until someone takes Apple to court, they will retain that right."

Yes, they are obliged. Having allowed MS to produce a third-party map app for iOS6, if they try to block Google from doing so there will be two very negative consequences for Apple. Firstly, there will be an immediate and very large PR blow to Apple. Secondly, after a short period of time, a lawsuit would head their way from Google and that lawsuit would be justified. Either one alone obliges them to allow a Map App from Google onto iOS6.

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No navigation?

Directions seems to be there but not navigation.

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Oh Dear - It's Crap

I was so excited by this. I've just downloaded the Bing app; it looks good and hopefully they'll get it working soon.

If you search for a postcode it just gives a map of the town. No marker for the street or address, just the whole town. It then uses half the screen to say "Leeds - LS1 1AA - Get directions" so half the screen is unavailable for the map. I suppose that since the map is useless it doesn't matter whether or not it fills the screen or not. A bit of further playing has resulted in the search box disappearing and no way of getting it back. Now it's frozen, white and non-responsive.

If you thought that Apple maps were useless then Bing will set new levels of uselessness for you.

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Re: Oh Dear - It's Crap

Bing isn't as useless as Apple Maps but it nowhere near as usable as Google Maps. Bing's map UI is very cluttered and bits of the screen are wasted with things like the thin progress bar and other crap

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Re: Oh Dear - It's Crap

If I'm looking for an address by postcode then it's no good at all. If I put my postcode into Bing maps I get a map of the whole city (about 6 miles across the width of the screen), with no indication of where the postcode is. I suppose I could assume that it's in the centre and zoom in, but it's a bit of a leap of faith, isn't it?. One would think that something as simple as an "X", or an arrow or a blob to give me a clue would be given. This, and the fact that after one search the search box disappears requiring an app shut-down and re-launch to get it back makes it less useful than Apple maps IMHO. I'll carry on with google website, but it's really too clunky to use in the wild without 3G.

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Re: Oh Dear - It's Crap

What is your postcode? I have never seen this when I use Bing Maps for any post code.

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MS did not need to do more to cover it than post a sarky blog on an obscure webpage because you posted an article about said obscure and sarky blog post praising Bing Maps which is whizzing its way around the globe via feeds and your own website, re-published by a gazillion aggregation sites and covered and recovered by every tech site known to man woman and beast over the coming weeks.

Hoorah!

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keg
Facepalm

Speaking of pot and kettles. This is the Bing maps where Sheffield is in Cornwall

http://www.bing.com/maps/#JnE9LlNoZWZmaWVsZCU3ZXNzdC4wJTdlcGcuMSZiYj01My4zODM2MzQ3MDg4MjY2JTdlLTEuNDgzNTAyMzg4MDAwNDglN2U1My4zNzMzMzA2NTU0NDg3JTdlLTEuNTAzNDU4MDIzMDcxMjg=

specifically Penzance, Cornwall if you enter a postcode, even though the pin is in the right place.

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TRT
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BingMaps wants to use your current location...

Apparently, I've broken into the Bank of England. Ooerrr!

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Anonymous Coward

I think you wanted this link.

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Happy

There is another way......

I know, I know, the maps app is shite, the phone is useless, Apple is evil but if you happen to be the proud owner lumbered with an iphone then "around me" is quite a useful app and I like NavFree for navigation (although to be fair I did pay the 99 p to get rid of the adverts)

And, if you really want google maps just use maps.google.co.uk in Safari

I know, we shouldnt HAVE to do any of these things and I know, it's our own fault for buying something you android / Blackberry / Winpho boys wouldnt wipe your arse on but hey, we all have choices to make, I made mine, you made yours now can we just agree to disagree and get on with our lives??

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Anonymous Coward

Bing Maps?

These fanbois are struggling with Apple Maps sure, but they aren't desperate. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire

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Oh for f*ck's sake...

Mapping is a perpetual beta, regardless of who's doing it. All Apple's Maps app has changed is its underlying databases—instead of Google's APIs, it hooks into TomTom (and others) instead, with the only real end-user addition being the "Flyover" feature. Aside from that it's the same bloody app!

Now, while Google's mapping data is very likely excellent in the US, I've found it tends to become less and less useful as you get further away from that country. For large tracts of the Lazio region here in Italy, its satellite imagery suffered from the exact same problem others have reported: cloud cover obscuring the ground! That only changed this year (and they're still using some shockingly outdated aerial photography data too.)

Of course, I don't think it's a surprise that many of the Apple Maps haters are outside the EU: TomTom are based in Amsterdam, not the US, so they're naturally going to have a European bias. Apple (based in the US) are integrating other companies' imaging data with TomTom's databases, so it's going to take a while before it all clicks, but no v1.0 release has ever been perfect. Even so, Orvieto gets a lot more detail from Apple's database than Google's. As does most of the Viterbo province, come to that. (The pins can be a bit off in places, but it takes seconds to report the correct position. Google's system suffers from similar inaccuracies here in Italy. It's not an easy country to map.)

(One thing that has surprised me is just how useful that "Flyover" feature is: Rome is a bastard to navigate if you're not used to it, but the 3D modelling for the city is staggeringly detailed and makes Google's version look half-hearted at best. Zoom into the Colosseum and compare it with Google. You'll see the difference immediately. Apple really have nailed the UX on their first attempt. Unlike StreetView, these kinds of 3D overviews are actually useful in providing useful navigational context in busy cities, though they're quite so useful in smaller ones.)

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OS Maps

If you want OS maps on your iPhone look for the map called 'Outside Maps' you can view online plus download tiles for offline use.

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Anonymous Coward

Also..

"City Maps 2Go" runs quite nicely under iOS. I don't recommend the Android version as much though, it's a younger port, and the renderer is a lot more clunky.

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Silver badge

Just checked out my abode on Bing and the maps is slightly newer than google. Sure it show my garden as an overgrown mass of weeds but at least the building site from 7 years ago is gone. Now if they would only do a map refresh so that I can show off my cultivated lawn and wild flower meadow.

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Does it really matter?

Who cares where it comes from, as long as the app does what it needs to do. Apple screwed the pooch big time on Maps, and Google has (so far) denied that they are developing a native iOS app.

So if Microsoft is able to swoop in with a functioning app, then all the power to them. If their app can do turn by turn directions, can handle transit and walking directions, has reasonably up to date data, and has offline capability, then I just can't see a problem.

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Coat

Bing maps by Nokia

As a text on the aerial maps where I live.

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WTF?

Bing has maps?

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Anonymous Coward

"Bing has maps?"

Who has maps?

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Not surprising he missed, there is no shortcut to maps in m.Bing.com, new "you are an idiot" attitude from Microsoft I think. Links would confuse us!

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"Not that it would make much difference if Nokia had bought into Bing, given Nokia’s falling market share"

Yawn, and once again let's pick a flawed stat. Apple has falling market share, why not report that?

Nokia are still the number two phone company, second to Samsung, not Apple, which isn't bad going. That's a fact.

Any why only count the US market for WP share?

As for Bing, well there's a point. Bing has never been bad, it's just been ridiculed because it's not Google. If Apple maps hadn't been a complete shambles, would it have received the same ridicule, simply because it wasn't Google? I doubt it - another double standard. Though personally I think Nokia maps has the edge over them all.

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