Live Search Maps Update: A Road Runs Through It

Live Search Maps Aerial View of Downtown Houston with New Street Highlighting and Labels

Microsoft has updated its Live Search Maps with a number of new features, the most striking of which is the ability to view a street-map overlay on the maps’ signature 3D aerial views. This should be especially helpful to the armchair pilots among you who have been flying blind through Microsoft’s “bird’s eye” views, trying to figure which street is which as you rotate around a property.

Since HAR’s recent update, Live Search Maps are now linked directly to property listings. However, those maps do not include the new street-highlighting feature. To see this new feature, go to and enter an address, then click on the “Bird’s eye” button at the top. Street highlighting automatically appears, but you can turn it off by clicking on the button at the top marked “Labels.” As before, you can rotate the direction of your view by clicking on the N, S, E, or W in the top left corner.

Now here’s a problem: What happens when the newly highlighted streets run behind a tall building? As our sample image above shows, they don’t just run — they dash!

After the jump: How to avoid traffic online!


The new version of Live Search Maps also includes a smarter system for dodging traffic when you get directions using the maps, using a Microsoft technology called Clearflow:

The new service will on occasion plan routes that might not be intuitive to a driver. For example, in some cases Clearflow will compute that a trip will be faster if a driver stays on a crowded highway, rather than taking a detour, because side streets are even more backed up by cars that have fled the original traffic jam.

A complete list of the Live Maps and Virtual Earth 3D map improvements is here.