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James Senior at Microsoft: Like a kid in a candy store

Live Maps switches to Multimap

Live Maps switches to Multimap

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Multimap

I spoke the the Live Product Manager the other day and he said this was coming, but I didn't realise how quickly! Just goes to show how easy it is to develop on Virtual Earth!

This switch is only for the UK, Multimap has the biggest share of Map visitors in the UK so I guess brand familiarisation was a factor.  However, brand consistency is lost and perhaps has become more convoluted. 

Thinking about it though, what does it matter?  The Live brand doesn't really have much brand recognition anyway so perhaps leveraging the multimap brand makes sense in the UK.

The user interface is a hybrid model where in standard map mode you get original multimap tiles and UI and in Aerial mode you get Virtual Earth.  Gone are the "Hybrid" and "Road" option which was talked about before - who knows what "Hybrid" means anyway!!??

Of course Bird's Eye is VE only and it's nice to see they've integrated that in there too.  There's no access to 3D view though which is poor and I have to say the multimap maps aren't as clear to look at. They've also disabled any mouse wheel zooming which I can't stand - come on guys - sort it out!

Their UI widgets like zoom in and move map are cleaner than the standard VE one though and they've also incorporated Wikipedia information on the map which is quite cute.  One of the great things about Multimap is their local information and I can toggle on/off cash points (ATMs) and things like petrol stations which is quite useful for planning road trips.  In and around London you get tube stations too.

Comments
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  • One Man's "upgrade" is another Man's "downgrade"

    It appears that your new UK maps are actually not as good as the maps you already had!

    http://www.itwriting.com/blog/?p=572

    Blake Handler

    Microsoft MVP

    "The Road to Know Where"

  • Could someone enlighten me as to what are the benefits of this, i hope there are benefits else why would MS do it

  • This is shocking. Live maps were really good, multimap is a shocking pile of rubbish. Bring back the old maps. I'll be just using google maps from now on it seems.

  • There has been some good debate for the pros and cons (mainly cons on the debate) of the switch from

  • Microsoft, the gloves are off on this one.

    This was a SH1T decision and it's made me FURIOUS. Until yesterday I was singing the praises of Live Maps and getting everyone to move over from Google... and now I'll have to go back to them all and tell them to ignore what I said. It's now absolutely unusable.

    By the looks of the posts flooding other blogs, everyone else feels the same way. How on earth could you not have predicted this would happen?

    Luckily, I've just found a way for UK users to bypass MultiCRAP (which may or may not last) -- just click the following link: http://maps.live.com/?mkt=en-us

  • If you speak to the Live Product Manager again in the near future can you mention what a stupid and short-sighted change this is.

    Yes, it is easy to develop with Virtual Earth, but it seems it's just as easy to make an absolute hash of it. On the same day that the underlying Virtual Earth platform gets some great improvements, the UK not only doesn't gain from those improvements but instead takes several steps backwards.

    Surely it makes more sense to wean the relatively small number of UK multimap users over to the Virtual Earth / Live brand that Microsoft is investing in so heavily everywhere else in the world?

    At the very least people should be able to choose, rather than have Multimap forced upon them, presumably to help increase its advertising revenue.

  • I like the fact that when I zoom out past a certain point I can choose OS maps instead of the default TeleAtlas ones, since OS show things like rights of way, footpaths etc. Only 1:50,000 scale but still pretty useful.

    You ask who knows what "hybrid" means - I do, for one. I find that an overlay of road map on actual overhead imagery gives a better perspective of where I am and is useful to build a mental picture of an area. The new equivalent term seems to be to turn on road naming under the Aerial button (this also highlights streets to make them stand out from the background).

    Now you just need to get it to work in IE8!

    (Beta Version 8.0.6001.17184 shows map tiles way outside their containing border area, this was broken before the switch to Live)

  • Ditto. There probably are some "cute" features in MM but it looks rubbish, the ads take over the screen and the map is just looks like a thin strip, even in full screen mode. Typical bloody MS. Moan, gripe etc.

    I'm actually embarrassed now about the number of people I've raved at about how amazing live maps was.

    Long live: http://maps.live.com/?mkt=en-us

    Google must be pissin in their pants.

    Oh and the mouse-wheel zoom - why oh why oh why, did they take that out?

  • Sorry, but even with the so-called localizationness of Multimap, the features in Live Maps are far more compelling, and Multimap has too much lag.

    Please fix this. It's absolutely ridiculous. It's one of those boneheaded Microsoft mistakes that gets users angry at them so often. You should have left Live Maps like it was.

  • Multimap is a poor substitute for what came before it.  I beg and implore Microsoft to sort this mess out very quickly.

  • Please join the Facebook group campaigning against the change to Multimap in the UK:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=14574166409&ref=mf

  • Looks like it's back to Google Maps for me, which is a shame as I loved using Live Maps but there is no way I am using Multimap. I stopped using Multi Map years ago. This is such a strange thing for Microsoft to do, what were they thinking???

  • I have been using Live maps for some time know and i always liked it. It had a simple interface and excellent map coverage.

    They even covered my home country of Cyprus in great detail which Google Maps does not at all! But now with this stupid Multimap thing the map window is a LOT smaller, a lot more annoying to use and in Cyprus cannot even zoom in to actualy see any roads which i could zoom in to street level in Live Maps. And the ads! Oh my God!

    I guess i'm going back to Google Maps for the time being. I really hope they dont screw up their mobile Live Maps application for Windows Mobile the same way they screwed up this. Live maps for WM is one of my favourite applications and i use it very often.

    What was Microsoft thinking?? Honestly!

  • Google must be so happy about this, they basically have no competition now. I would love to meet the person that though it would be a good idea to send all UK maps.live.com traffic to multimap.com, but I can't tell you what I would do to them as I would probably get arrested!

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