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Google's Street View vs. MS' Bird's-Eye View

Maps and navigation undoubtedly are a couple of the coolest things to hit the mobile tech world in the past few years. On Windows Mobile, the two major (free) players are Microsoft's Live Search Mobile and Google Maps.

We've been fans of Live Search for a long while now, with its turn-by-turn directions and better search results. But there's not denying that Google Maps got a few points back in its collumn with a recent update that brought Street View to the small screen. But with little fanfare, Microsoft brought its "Bird's-eye view" setting down to phone level. With Google, you've got a car's-eye view of the streets. With the unheralded BEV, a zoomable over-the-shoulder look into your neighbors backyards. (And Microsoft doesn't make a big deal about it. In the map view, go to Menu>View>Bird's Eye).

So which do you prefer? Google Maps and Street View getting it done for your daily navigation? Or is Live Search and Bird's-Eye View your peeper of choice? Let us know in the comments.

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

14 Comments
  • So far, i'm liking street view on google maps a little more. Maybe once the "newness" wears off, i see things more clearly. But to be honest, both are definately worth downloading on to your device.
  • Live to me is a better searching app for movie times and finding stuff I need. Also, I like the GPS planning part of it more than google. Google has the best aerial views though.
  • Googlemaps:
    -better for pure mapping/directions/geography
    -gps is picked up quicker than WLS
    -clearer map images
    -loads faster than WLS WLS:
    -much better for local business searches, movie times, etc.
    -voice recognition is huge bonus (and works great)
    -slower than google maps all around thats my take...street view v. bird's eye might be a personal preference but I recently entered my childhood address into google maps street view and it brought back all my childhood memories... great stuff!
  • I like Live Search better. The main selling point for me is the voice recognition - it really makes a difference when you can't take your hand off the wheel, or similar scenarios. I do fing the GPS related menus rather clunky for live search though. There are a lot of times that I try to do something from my current GPS location (get directions from where i currently am, to somewhere else) in which case live search asks me to name the current GPS location. I can never quite figure out why I'm supposed to name it (It's just a random location), and whether hitting cancel will get me out of the mapping app, or just dismiss the nameing dialog box. Do you guys have any clout with the Live Search folks? Can you pass on the feedback? They're coming out with updates at a nice clip so hopefully if they hear this, we can get a more intelligent menu in about 6-months time.
  • So which do you prefer? Google Maps and Street View getting it done for your daily navigation? Or is Live Search and Bird's-Eye View your peeper of choice? Let us know in the comments.
  • I installed the new version of WLS on my Q9c the other day and it was so buggy that I uninstalled it. Any change in menu (from aerial to street view, center on GPS, etc) would hang up the program severely. Anyone else have this problem?
  • Not sure why, but I find myself navigating more towards Google Maps. It seems more intuitive, less cluttered. You should be able to configure that monster home screen in WLS -- don't like having to scroll down to see all the buttons -- if I could remove the ones I don't use (like Weather, Web, Collections) then first impressions might be better. The Google product seems more refined, whereas WLS has more of a 'patchworked' perception...
  • I only have WLS on my phone primarily because i have a GPS in my car and dont need/want to get directions off my phone. i find WLS better for the quick movie times/etc and have never searched the web from it as it takes too long. i like the layout and options i get from WLS, i find its layout easier than google maps but thats just my 2 cents worth
  • Might wanna clear some of those comments (exam)
  • Got 'em. Sorry about that.
  • Once you get used to the menu system in WLS (which doesn't take long) it's an exceptionally powerful tool. And the turn-by-turn directions (granted, no voice prompts, but still . . ) are a huge bonus on the rare times I'm traveling. It does have a slightly less-intuitive interface though. The latest GMM is much better than previous iterations though and I do actually use it more often than I used to. On a recent trip to Chicago I had a chance (and actual need) to use both the bird's eye views as well as the street views. They each had their strengths. The birds-eye was much better in giving a better real-world sense of perspective and relative distance. But the street view was obviously much better for things like finding the entrances to stores/restaurants/etc (although I'd ironically argue this was less critical for a visitor like myself; I'm already there at that point.)
  • WLS for navigation is better and it has a few things I use such as the movie time search. But for map navigation (especially walking) and local/poi searching I prefer Google. It is just quicker and the layout is cleaner. Although, now that I use TomTom Navigator on my Diamond I don't use WLS at all. I wish one of the major navi software companies would incorporate Google for POI searching...
  • Google maps, because google has the better satelite images overall, around the globe, outside US.
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