Microsoft recently confirmed that it would be updating many of the built-in apps in Windows 8 between the release to manufacturing (RTM) of the OS and its general availability on October 26. Here’s a peek at the changes the firm just made to its Maps app.
I wrote about this app updating confirmation in Windows 8: Updates Coming to Built-In Apps after having been speaking about (on podcasts) and writing (here and in Windows 8 Secrets) for months about Microsoft’s plans to do just this.
Here’s what’s new in the Maps app.
Updated app bar with new features
Comparing the RTM version of Maps (build 136) with the newly released version (build 222) and some changes are immediately apparent. The new version includes many more buttons on its app bar, providing quick access to new features like Add a pin and find. And many of the buttons have been updated with new designs.
(Also, the zoom buttons are now on the far right of the screen instead of the far left.)
Add a pin
You can now pin favorite locations to Maps, much as you would in the web or Windows Phone versions of (Bing) Maps.
In the original version of the app, you needed to use the Search charm to find a specific location. Now, with the Find button in the app bar, you can do so in a more obvious way. (The Search charm method still works, however.)
Bird's eye view
Maps finally utilizes Bing’s nice bird’s eye view. You can switch between this mode and the previous aerial view using a rotate button (on top of the zoom buttons) that also rotates between four possible perspectives.
Indoor venue maps
Bing Maps now provides over 3,000 indoor venue maps for malls and other similar locations.
Improved navigation and layout
Directions now features an improved layout where the written instructions run down the side of the screen instead of in a small row at the top.
Is there more?
If you see any new features in the Metro-style Mail, Calendar, People, or Messaging apps, please let me know and I’ll update this article.