Bing Maps now reveals Streetside views in more than 100 cities

The latest update to Microsoft's maps site also adds aerial images, and you can check out 3D views of some cities through a new Windows 8.1 app.

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Bing Maps takes you to the Golden Gate Bridge. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Want to check out San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and "The Strip" in Las Vegas. You can do all of that without leaving your home, courtesy of Microsoft's Bing Maps.

Announced on Thursday, the latest update to Bing Maps now brings you a Streetside view of famous sites across more than 100 US cities. You can virtually tour celebrated streets, buildings, and other landmarks in such places as Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Through the new Streetside enhancements, Microsoft is clearly trying to catch up with Google, which offers its own Street View tours of famous areas across the world. Street View currently offers 3D virtual tours in 50 countries across all seven continents. So Microsoft has a long way to go before it can match its rival street for street. But Bing Maps is also trying to compete in the air.

As part of the new update, Bing now offers aerial images of sites across more than 150 countries, covering around 1.9 million square miles. You can get a bird's-eye view of Bourbon Street in New Orleans, the Parthenon in Greece, and Graceland in Memphis.

Microsoft is also getting into more 3D with its Bing Maps preview app for Windows 8.1. The app offers detailed 3D views of more than 125 cities across the world with almost 30 newly added. You can take 3D tours around such cities as Las Vegas, New Orleans, Copenhagen, and Toronto.

The app's interface works quite smoothly on a touch-screen device as you swipe and pinch your way around the screen to move from one stop to another and zoom in or out of your current location. You can also easily switch to a Streetside view for supported cities to get a more complete look at the area.

Bing Maps may not be able to match Google Maps, but Microsoft's site and the Windows 8.1 app are certainly worth checking out by any virtual tourist.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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