Microsoft yesterday unveiled its free Bing voice-enabled search app, powered by its Tellme subsidiary, for Windows phones.
The company says users can keep their hands on the wheel when they’re using voice to access maps, driving directions and traffic information. Like Google’s Maps Navigation, the app is a beta version.
Microsoft says Bing Maps overhauled its experience to better reflect how people are using the Web to complete tasks and make decisions. Bing Maps now offers a Streetside and enhanced aerial view, so users have the ability to see what’s around them from the street level or from the sky looking down.
The new version incorporates Silverlight, a multimedia Web application, and Photosynth, an application from Microsoft Live Labs and the University of Washington that can stitch photos together, turning them into a three-dimensional model.
The new features mean Bing Maps can zoom in, out and around; view a location from the street level or above; rotate 360 degrees in one spot; view location-related content while searching an area; and upload their own synths of a location to be integrated into a map, according to a press release.
Microsoft acquired Tellme back in 2007. Last January, Tellme jumped into the automotive market by providing voice technology for Ford Motor Company’s Sync Traffic, Directions and Information service. The Ford product is a “voice in and audio out” experience while Bing Mobile is a “voice in and visual out” experience, a spokesperson explained.
Tellme and Bing are also available on the Sprint Intrepid and the Verizon Storm.
According to the spokesperson, the difference between Bing and other voice-powered navigation apps on the market is Bing is a full-featured, “all-in-one” Web and local/maps/directions experience. Because the voice search is powered by Tellme, it’s fast and easy to use on the go.
The launch is the first big refresh of the technology behind Bing Maps in years, the company says – largely the result of years of work done in Microsoft Research, incubation labs and product groups.