The folks behind Bing Maps have been undeniably busy this past month: they've released 121 terabytes worth of satellite and Global Ortho imagery to its Windows 8 Maps app and Bing Maps, released a Hurricane Sandy-specific map app and have also launched a Facebook page where they'll show off some cool imagery each and every day.
Whenever a company like Microsoft or Google rolls out a boatload of fresh imagery, it's rarely easy to figure out what exactly has been updated. Well, that problem is non-existent with Bing Maps, because if you visit its "World Tour", you'll see yellow areas coat the entire map - these represent the areas that have been updated with the current release. Even better: you can click on "Select Releases" and go back in time. You'll be able to see what was updated last month, the month prior and so forth.
When using Bing Maps, you'll also be able to "Watch Slideshow", which brings you to a couple of notable updates. Oddly, sometimes Bing forgets to remove the yellow highlighting when zoomed all the way in, so if that happens to you, be sure to off-click the "Show Current Release Coverage" at the bottom.
It's been a long while since I last played with any maps software from Microsoft, but I have to say I'm really impressed with what the company's offering. Compared to Google Maps, I've found the current Bing Maps to be a bit more fluid to use (zooming, especially), and the ability to see exactly what's been updated since last time is hugely useful. Unfortunately, that latter functionality doesn't seem to be an option in the Maps app in Windows 8, so hopefully Microsoft will remedy that in the future.
For those who always want to be immersed in the Bing Maps experience, Microsoft has also updated its United States and Europe desktop themes which regularly update your desktop wallpaper based on an RSS feed. I gave the United States theme a quick test, and it worked like a charm.
Now, if you don't mind, I'll go and be addicted to Bing Maps for the next little while...