Microsoft shipped the latest preview for Windows 10 for Phones last week which included Maps for Windows 10, and in a blog post today its taken to highlighting the revamped features of the new mapping services for phones.
Microsoft has been in the mapping game a long time, but like a number of other services, their implementation of mapping services has been, well, all over the map. Early on, it was Streets and Trips and AutoRoute and MapPoint, and then there were Live Maps and Virtual Earth and Bing Maps, and Nokia and HERE Maps, but now, for perhaps the first time, Microsoft has settled on a single mapping solution for consumers, called simply Maps.
The new Maps incorporates a lot of the features that were available in previous incarnations of Microsoft mapping services, including revamped 3D cities and Streetside imagery, as well as an improved touch interface, better integration with local search data including at your fingertips information for local hotels, restaurants, or shopping.
You’ll also get guided directions, whether you’re driving, taking public transportation, or walking, and with a GPS enabled devices, you’ll get hands free voice guided directions.
Like HERE Maps, you can download these new maps and store them on your phone, so even without an internet connection (or without having to burn up data minutes even if you are connected), you’ll still know right where you are.
Recently Nokia, which held on to its mapping and location services when it sold off its phone businesses to Microsoft, now appears ready to unload it, too. There’s no real information on Microsoft’s interest in acquiring HERE Maps, but it would seem to make sense, as former CEO tried hard to get the mapping services included in the phones deal, as HERE Maps is an integral part of these new Microsoft mapping services through licensing deals, and as it would serve to keep the service out of the hands of competitors.
Have you tried the new Maps in build 10051 on the phone? What do you think?