Microsoft revamps Bing Maps routing feature

Bing is now able to process queries for driving directions twice as fast

Bing's Maps search engine has an improved capability for generating driving directions, according to Microsoft.

The improvements, courtesy of a brand new algorithm for computing driving-direction queries, include reduced latency and higher performance, Microsoft said in a blog post.

"For any of our route calculations we're now processing requests twice as fast as we ever have," Chris Pendleton, a lead program manager for Bing Maps, wrote in the blog post.

For developers, the new routing engine, called Customizable Route Planning, includes a new API for alternate routes. It lets developers request up to three routes with one request, according to Microsoft.

More details about the inner workings of the new feature can be found in a paper published last year by the Microsoft Research team.

Online maps are one of the most popular vertical search engines, because they deliver local business listings, driving directions, street-level images and other useful geographic information for people looking to find locations.

Although Google remains the dominant player in search, Microsoft continues investing on and enhancing Bing, with the hopes that it will eventually eat into Google's usage market share. Beefing up Bing's Maps search engine is key in achieving these aspirations.

Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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