Microsoft shipped a new version of Windows Live Search Maps, one that comes with an all new, all better interface. The new interface takes all the controls, for panning the map, switching between 2D and 3D, zooming in and out, switching between road, aerial, hybrid and bird’s eye views, and switching on traffic data, all in a simple, minimalist bar in the corner. You can, with a single click, contract that bar into nothingness:
Besides the improved interface, there’s a new version of Virtual Earth 3D for you to install. It adds these features:
- Add birdâ€™s eye view to 3D maps.
- Put your own modeling creations on the map.
- Turn your collections into tours and movies to show and share.
Here’s the new 3D interface, with a bird’s eye image taking up the center of the screen, and a ton of 3D buildings on either side:
LiveSide lists other improvements here and here, including the ability to abbreviate the beginning or end of driving directions. If you already know plenty about the end or the beginning (because one of them is your house or office), you can tell it to shorten that section and not waste your time telling you how to leave your own neighborhood.
Another new feature: traffic redirection. If there’s bad traffic, it’ll re-route you around it, though you’ll have the option to see the directions without that. Another one: One-click directions. Choose a destination, and it’ll give you a page with a map and seperate directions from the North, South, East and West.