Microsoft has made no effort to hide its growing rivalry with Google, and today the company released a new application to rival the search giants popular mapping service. Bing Maps Preview mixes beautiful 3D city renderings with exploration and navigation tools, all designed for touchscreen controls. The app is available free for all Windows 8.1 devices.
Bing Maps Preview lets you seamlessly switch between an eagle eye view of the world, a closer look from above filled with 3D renderings created by video game developers Microsoft tapped for the project, and a “Streetside” view similar to Street View in Google Maps, though still populated with 3D graphics rather than actual photos. The new app also offers integration with Bing and Skype, so you could search for a restaurant while exploring a new city online and then quickly call it to make a reservation with a single tap.
Microsoft’s app also offers traffic notifications. Just tell it your regular routes and what time you travel and Bing Maps Preview will let you know if there are any delays by updating its live tile and pushing a notification onto your home screen, though it’s unclear where this information is being pulled from.
Overall, Bing Maps Preview looks pretty beautiful, though we’ll have to wait and see how well it actually works as an alternative to Google Maps before we can offer a final opinion. It would also be nice to see a mobile version of the new app for Windows Phone, though there’s no indication this will happen. You can check out a video preview below, and head to the Windows Store via the source link to download the app and try it out for yourself.