Bing Maps, which was already impressive in quite a few ways, has gotten better again with the addition of three new apps. A distance calculator, gas prices tool, and parking finder promise to help people plan trips and go about their daily lives more efficiently.
The distance calculator might be the least interesting app; pretty much every mapping service is able to tell the number of miles (or kilometers) between Point A and Point B, after all. Still, this app can handle journeys with multiple legs, and take into account whether a person's flying or driving.
A handier app is then the gas prices tool. It shows how much different stations are charging, and since it's bundled right in with all of Bing Maps's other offerings, could be a very convenient way of saving money.
Finally, although not a lot of whole cities are covered (just 16), the parking finder app may be able to save people from parking tickets, door dings, and vandalism when they're visiting a number of airports (67). A post on the Bing Maps Blog explained, "Once you select a parking lot by clicking on the respective pin on the map, you'll get contextual information such as address, hours and a phone number. You also get information about the type of lot such as outdoor and self-parking plus the payment types they accept."
Furthermore, "There are links to view photos of the respective lot (on BestParking.com) or view the facility on BestParking.com," and "[c]licking the 'Calculate Rate' link for a parking lot will bring up a calculator where you enter your start and end date and times to estimate how much it will cost to park at all the lots listed on the map given the respective time!"
These apps are all free, and don't require any downloads so long as your computer's already outfitted with Silverlight. Just visit Bing Maps, agree to "Explore the new Bing Maps," and then click the "Map Apps" button.