Microsoft Shows Off Bing Maps With Augmented Reality

Mapping and routing are two technologies that have become huge over the past few years, and they're only getting bigger. As more and more of the world becomes digitized for mobile consumption, companies are looking for more ways to interact with roads, geography, directions and reality of the live world itself. Google has already shown its innovation arm with Google Earth and Street View, and now Microsoft is hoping to steal some of that thunder with a showcase at the TED 2010 Conference in California.

Blaise Aguera y Arcas is an architect at Microsoft Live Labs, and he has worked on Seadragon, Photosynth and of course, Bing Maps. At the show, he demonstrated a new look at Bing Maps, which was ultra-fluid and demonstrated a whole new way of looking at things. He showed Seattle (near Microsoft's campus) as an example, and as he zoomed in, the maps automatically switched to an astounding 3D view of buildings and roadways. The new take was deemed to be "Sim City-like."

In a way, it's a lot like Google's Street View, but it goes a step further. The maps even displayed the inside of Pike's Place Market, and augmented reality  was made live for the demo from the online map. It's hard to do it justice in mere words; give the video below a look and prepare to be amazed.

As Blaise explained, Bing Maps pulled in the street-view Bing map and then overlaid an augmented version of it, based on a voice and video chat conversation he was having with his colleagues who were on location, otherwise known as "telepresence" but virtually, or perhaps literally, anywhere in the world.  Talk about absolutely and utterly amazing technology; man has no limits.  It's clear to see this and companies like Microsoft are pushing the envelope quite literally, of the human existence.