Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Microsoft Demos Live Fish-Tossing in Bing Maps at TED

Well, BoomTown did not expect Microsoft to toss fish and bench-press crabs during its demo today at the TED conference, but that’s just what it did.

Debuting a series of eye-candy features in its ongoing oneupmanship with Google (GOOG) in the increasingly competitive mapping arena, Bing Maps architect Blaise Aguera y Arcas unveiled a new series of enhancements to its spatial search offerings, some of which are available today.

I am not sure which tech giant is going to prevail in the online mapping battle, but it is certain that consumers will be enjoying some innovative advances over the next few years.

Coolest new ones from Microsoft: Indoor panoramas to move mapping inside and real-time video overlays to maps.

In the demo, a Microsoft (MSFT) team was at the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle showing off some fish-tossing and giant crabs there back to Long Beach, Calif., in real time as Aguera y Arcas showed off the feature.

Here’s a quick summary of what Microsoft demonstrated:

Streetside Photos application (in technology preview): Available today, this tech preview mines geo-tagged photos from Flickr, and relates them to the Streetside imagery in Bing Maps. As more people contribute and share imagery, we can reunite those photos with the location where they were taken. This application will also enable the layering of historical imagery, so people can go back in time and see a location as it existed decades prior.

World Wide Telescope Integration: We’re not just stopping at the street, and are excited to announce our vision for the initial integration with the World Wide Telescope, a project out of Microsoft Research. Once launched, you will literally be able to
“walk” outside in Streetside mode, look up, and see what’s above–way above, with constellations coming to life.

Indoor Panoramas: At the same time as we’re getting more “universal” with World Wide Telescope, we’re also getting more intimate. Today, we’re showing the first results of our indoor panoramas work. This will provide an experience identical to Streetside, but won’t be limited to places you can take a vehicle. Whether you’re exploring Seattle’s Pike Place Market, or your favorite theme park, Bing Maps will give you the most immersive experience of the place.

Video Overlay Technology: Today, Blaise also demonstrated a preview of our new video overlay technology, which enables real-time video to be overlaid seamlessly on street-level imagery, adding another dimension to the mapping experience. In the coming year, we think you will be pleasantly surprised with how far Bing takes this new technology. Stay tuned.

And here is a video demo of Streetside Photo application and WorldWide Telescope integration, but not indoor panoramas and video overlay technology:

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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo