Given the prevalence and popularity of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS systems, it’s now second nature for users to default to the mapping solutions baked into the phones we buy.
But let’s not forget Microsoft and the mapping services it offers, because a new update to the web version of Bing Maps lets users view real-time traffic cameras. By clicking on the “traffic” tab, you can see where traffic cameras are, then click on them to view a recent image of the road in question.
The update allows users to view live feeds in 11 different countries, from a database of 35,000 traffic cameras. Want to know what a certain lane closure near Blackfriars in London looks like? Choosing between a cab and the subway in New York City? Need to make sure there’s no bull-fighting taking place on the streets of Madrid? No problem! Just fire up your laptop and take a peek before heading out. The small print on the new feature cautions drivers not to view the maps while actually driving – it’d be a shame if the new feature made roads less safe, not more.
Live traffic information isn’t a new feature in online mapping services, with apps like Waze crowdsourcing updates about road incidents from their users for years. But this update beats any graphic of squiggly lines and arrows, as you’re able to see actual roads and what the current conditions are like.
The camera feeds are updated frequently, with images from London’s cameras updated every five minutes. Perfect for stalking your loved ones minding their own business (and not you) on a Saturday morning.
We recently shared the news of Google Maps launching a new offline functionality. All of these updates continue to show just how important location data is to tech companies, and it’s a sign that Google’s offering isn’t always the best show in town.