Bing Maps Get More Visual Thanks to Flickr's API

Adam DuVander
Mar. 16 2010, 01:11PM EDT

Perhaps that Bing-Yahoo search deal is paying off. Even though Maps and Flickr aren't known to be part of the deal, Microsoft has connected its Bing Maps to the Flickr API in a unique way. It overlays geotagged Creative Commons photos over its current StreetSide imagery, as shown in the video embedded below.

It was first shown at the TED conference, so you know it's a big deal. The Bing blog explains exactly why:

Why is this cool? You're now able to see what that club looks like at night (is it really THAT scary?), see if you're really going to get a good sunset at that B&B you're looking to book, or check out the crowds on a Saturday morning at Pike Place Market in Seattle or get a view of the same market from decades prior.

The feature is similar to PhotoSynth, technology also shown off at TED and also incorporated into Bing Maps (nearly 20,000 of them). SearchEngineLand has a series of example photos that gives a good feel for this new feature.

You can give it a shot yourself, starting with this Pike Place tech preview (this feature requires Silverlight).

Bing search has been gaining a bit of market share lately, and using outside APIs, as Bing has done here with Flickr, could provide more ammunition in Microsoft's battle against Google.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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