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Aug122018

Bing Adds Customize Itineraries And JSON-LD Support In Maps & Webmaster Tools

Bing is now making it easier for people to plan, build and share customize intineraries in Bing Maps and also it adds support to JSON-LD in Web Master Tools.

Bing Maps, already has intineraries for popluar tavel desitinations in the US and the UK, now let you plan trips using Bing’s predefined itineraries that can be customized and make them your own. In addition to creating customized intineraries, you can also share these itinerary for upcoming vacations or trips with people you like to.

Bing advises to use the “same link” to share and as a shortcut to the itinerary on your mobile device.

To try them out, open Bing Maps on a desktop browser and search, for example [4 day New York itinerary], or any destination of your choice a specific itinerary, and Bing \Maps will provide you a trip to rework it for your specific needs.

Here is a screen shot showing search resulta for a itinerary on Bing Maps:

Search itinerary on Bing Maps

As Bing explains with the pre-itineraries, you can:

  • Add the attractions you want to visit
  • Remove or re-order attractions to optimize your day
  • Add or remove days to fit your schedule
  • Save your itinerary to My Places for future editing
  • Share your itinerary with friends and family
  • Take your itinerary on the go – view it on your mobile phone

Screenshot showing editing itinerary:

Edit an customize itinerary on Bing Maps

This feature also works on mobile search, see the screenshot below:

Customize Bing Maps itineraries on mobile

In addition to customize itineraries support, Bing also announced a number of other features in the Bing Maps, including the addition of:

Realtime Transit Trip updates added to the CalcRoute API, enabling Bing to recommend better routes that account for these updates as well as expose these updates to developers in the API.

The real-time transit data is available through a limited set of transit agencies who provide their data in real-time format. “We have coverage provided by 100 agencies in metro areas across the world including New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Houston, and Baltimore. Currently, the 4 markets where coverage exists are the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, the last of which has coverage nationwide,” Bing Maps wrote.

A screenshot below shows Real Time Route Transit Viewer:

Real-time route transit viewer in Bing Maps

A new addition to the Bing Maps REST services, the Autosuggest API released under the GA can be use to fetch a ranked list of suggested entities based on a user’s partial query.

Bing explains, a maximum of ten autosuggested entities can be returned per request, and the returned entities can be delimited by country and culture. The possible entity types, include: addresses including roads, points of interest, and businesses. Businesses are currently available in the US. Bing plans to release them to other markets soon.

The response can be specified for either JSON or XML format. Moreover, autosuggested entities can easily be displayed using Bing Maps V8 SDK.

Here is a look of the new Autosuggest API:

Bing Maps Autosuggest API

“Autosuggest API is designed to help developers populate online query forms such as delivery addresses as well as map search bars.”

To see working example of Autosuggest API using JavaScript, Bing Maps V8 SDK, and Bootstrap, see this Autosuggest API Browser here.

Another powerful addition, the Bing Maps Routing API is now available at no additional charge for an optimized route!

“Each API call to the routing service is 1 billable transaction, whether the optimize flag is specified or not,” wrote Bing. “With waypoint optimization you can pass in up to 25 waypoints (stops) and they will be re-ordered and optimized to minimize travel time or distance.”

Also, available now is the “Bing Maps Distance Matrix API” ideal to be use to compute optimal travel time and distances from all origins to destinations at scale, and then combing with optimization algorithms find the best stops for each driver to make.

You can then use the waypoint optimization function to find the best driving directions with turn by turn instructions for each driver’s itinerary.

This itinerary customization feature is already available for popular destinations in the US and UK. Bing notes, it’ll expand travel panning in the coming months.

Lastly, the Bing Maps Developer portal has shipped a new feature that allow to restrict access on Bing Maps API keys to a set of domains that you specify. Also, wildcard is now supported for referrer security whitelist setting.

Bing also introduced JSON-LD support in Webmaster Tools, enabling users to easily validate their JSON-LD implementation with the Markup Validator Tool available in the Diagnostics and Tools section in Bing Webmaster Tools.

First announced at the 2018 SMX Advanced, after the inclusion of JSON-LD, Bing Markup Validator now supports six markup languages, including “Schema.org, HTML Microdata, Microformats, Open Graph, RDFa, and JSON-LD. “

Here is a screeshot of JSON-lD Markup Validator in Bing Webmaster Tools:

JSON-LD MArkup Validator in Bing Webmaster Tools

“JSON-LD, or JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data, is an extension of JSON-based data format that can be used to implement structured data on a web site, that enable search engines to better understand the content on your site.”

While emphasizing the benefits of using JSON-LD, Bing also explained how it can be implemented without modifying the HTML content of pages. Among the wide array of possibilities — “It can also be hidden in the header, body, or footer of a page.”

Bing alerts that though the markup may not be visible on a web page, but it is still visible and readable by search engines. That said, Bing reminds site owners that putting spam data in JSON-LD markup can affect a page’s presence in search results.

From the official announcement:

“However, with the wide array of possibilities that comes with JSON-LD, the webmasters should be very alert as to not put invalid and incorrect information in the markup. Remember, even though the markup is not visible on your page, it is still read by the search engines and putting spam data in the markup can hamper your presence on the search engines.”

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