When it comes to online search engines and maps, there's one name that springs to mind: Google. Whether you're searching for a particular phrase or locating an address using Google Maps, the company has got it all sewn up. Or it did until Microsoft Bing came along.
Step 1. Head to bing.com/maps. To download the Bing Maps beta you'll need to be on the US site, which you can access via a link at the bottom of the page. Click the ‘Try it now' link on the Bing Maps Beta box to download the software.
Step 2. You'll be prompted to install Microsoft Silverlight. Click ‘Install now'. In the next window choose Save As and wait while the file downloads. Double-click this file to launch the installer. Select Run, Install Now. Once the installation is complete you'll be prompted to set Bing as your default search engine. Click Next.
Step 3. Restart your browser as prompted, then visit the US Bing Maps site once again. Bing Maps will automatically adjust the map shown onscreen to reflect your current location. A weather report, images and even driving instructions are provided on the lefthand side of the window.
Step 4. To view the map in StreetSide, select the blue person icon at the bottom of the screen. Areas that have been photographed are indicated with a blue dot at a country level or blue shaded areas if you're zoomed into street level. Simply click the blue area and watch as the map zooms in to display real photographs.
Step 5. Use the compass to help find your way through streets or move the cursor to where you want to go. Click the blue person icon to move between locations. The plus and minus signs let you zoom in or out of the map, while the back arrow returns you to your previous location.
Step 6. StreetSide is limited to areas in the US for the time being and Microsoft hasn't let on when it's adding this function to UK Bing maps. It's still worth seeing what it can do, however. To access the other new functions, click the orange arrow on the bottom left. This lets you access 16 Map apps.
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