Bing was supposed to be the new black. Bing + Yahoo! search deal + Farecast integration + new mapping was supposed to = a revolution in search engines for Microsoft (excuse me.. not a search engine.. a discovery engine). For that all to work, the mapping has to work. Especially in travel. When people search for information on locations they need to be given very accurate mapping information on where the location is..well...located.
I have been house hunting recently and "accidentally" used an integrated Bing Maps feature on Internet Explorer. It failed miserably...in an entertaining way.
Here are the screen shots that tell the story. Shot 1 - the house in 138 Underwood St Padding (suburb of Sydney just next to downtown business region) that I was looking at and me highlighting the address and selecting map with Live Search/Bing. Shot 2 - the result. No only is the mapping result nowhere near Paddington, it is some 4,000 kilometres away on an Aboriginal reserve in the North West corner of Australia. In other words...somewhere near the middle of nowhere (with all due respect to the people who live there).
Shot 1 - me doing the search
Shot 2 - the result. We now know where the middle of nowhere actually is.
Described by Bing as "138, Aboriginal Land, Western Australia". Other than the number 138 there is nothing in common with the address I was searching for
Let me put shot 2 into perspective with Shot 3 showing how far away this is from the actual location of Underwood St Paddington
Shot 3 - how far apart the locations are
Think this is a one off? I tried the same for a property in another part of Underwood st Paddington (this time number 14 not number 138) Shot 4 is the result. At least this time in Sydney but still some 30-40kms away and under than the number 14 - nothing in common with what I searched.
Shot 4 - closer but still not close enough
Showing 14 Underwood st Paddington as 14 Bilgola St Newport
If Bing wants any chance at fighting Google, Kayak or the OTAs in travel search they will have to do dramatically better than this in the mapping area.