Microsoft just released a new upgrade to their Maps site. (I still think its a horrible name, maps.microsoft.com would be smarter) Anyway, it’s a good upgrade. The bird’s eye view is so much better than anything Google Maps has to offer. The Google street view is interesting, but in reality, I use the bird’s eye view much more often.
I even tried the Microsoft UI in Firefox and it seems to work just fine. It seems that the newer Microsoft sites work well in Firefox. I have to wonder if the commitment to Internet Explorer is as high as it used to be inside the walls of Microsoft. Seriously, what exactly to they get out of the browser? I think it’s the revenue from the searching. My question is, “Is it profitable for them?” I just don’t know.
Back to the Maps. I clicked on 3D and it’s installing a plugin into Firefox. Seeems to be taking a while. Ok, it finished. Interesting, it popped up this message before it loaded. Nice clue, but I think it wasn’t actually needed. Looking at it now. OOoooh, wow, this is fancy! They have 3D representations of ALOT of buildings. The little office park I am in has a 3d view. They don’t have a slider for the zoom feature, but it seems pretty fast, so I haven’t minded yet. In fact, when I hold the zoom down it zooms without flicker. Very nice! I zoomed all the way out and I can see the whole planet. This 3D view is really cool. It shows the landscape really well.
BLAM! It just crashed my browser. Granted, I was trying to do 3D view while looking at traffic while switching to Birds-eye-view and I kept clicking and clicking. However, I don’t like crashing. Well, that is a small mark on an otherwise strong upgrade. The UX is pleasant. Ooops some more errors. I tried to get directions and it didn’t go anywhere. Oh, I see, it didn’t have the right information. I left the “hint” in the box and that didn’t count. Still, that’s bad feedback.
Ok, overall, it’s a mixed review. I give it a B+. It’s better than it was, but there are obviously a few rough edges. Nice work, Microsoft. I give credit where credit is due. Check out the full list of improvements on their blog. Wow, alot more than I tried out.