Microsoft opened Bing Maps to outside developers for the first time today, and BestParking.com was among the apps available in the Bing Map App Gallery on launch day.
Developers can download the Bing Maps software developers kit, use the template to build their apps and test their creations on the site itself, Microsoft says.
BestParking.com founder and CEO Ben Sann notes that consumers can open multiple apps simultaneously in Bing Maps, a development that he believes is ripe for trip-planning purposes.
In fact, users conceivably could open the Hotel Finder, Distance Calculator, Traffic, and BestParking's Parking Finder apps together on a Bing Map to plot their journeys.
The user experience at this point is far from seamless, but the kinks probably can be worked out.
Here's an image of the Traffic app and Parking Finder mashed up on a Bing Map.
The red, yellow and green lines represent various levels of traffic and the blue icons depict the location of and details about area parking facilities.
Sann wants to get BestParking.com apps on as many map platforms as possible for distribution purposes.
In this regard, Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and Bing Maps, among others, have begun to resemble, in their broad outlines, the major global distribution systems that travel agents use. The maps platforms are vehicles for getting travel-related and other e-commerce services in front of millions of consumers.
So, BestParking.com has rendered its services for its Bing Maps app, and uses Google Maps on its iPhone and Android apps, as well as for its website. In addition, BestParking.com can be f0und on Blackberry Maps for Blackberry devices.
Sann says Bing users can open the BestParking.com app on Bing Maps, which enables drivers to comparison shop for parking deals in neighborhoods across the U.S., and use it without having to navigate to the company's website.
BestParking.com offers several services, including parking reservations for some of the parking lots, and monetizes these services regardless of whether consumers are accessing these features on Bing Maps or at BestParking.com, Sann says.
With Google developing hotel shopping on Google Maps and with the smorgasbord of travel-related services already available on Bing Maps, it is easy to see how electronic maps may evolve into an even more integral tool for travel planning.
It's easy to visualize.