At BUILD conference held last week, Microsoft announced that Bing Maps 3D is coming back along with the release of Windows 8.1. They even gave a brief demo of the same. 3D Maps is not new to Bing Maps as they had in the name of Virtual Maps 3D few years back before discontinuing it in 2010.
Liveside today reported that the new upcoming version of Bing Maps 3D will be enabled by WebGL in IE11. So, users won’t be needed to install any plug-ins to experience the 3D maps. And also they are building Photosynth 2 viewer based on WebGL.
First, Bing Director Stefan Weitz told me that the new version was almost entirely built from the ground up, using, among other technologies, Microsoft’s UltraCam. There’s simply not much left from the old Bing Maps 3D, Silverlight or otherwise. Then I had a chance to talk a bit about WebGL with Jason Weber, a PM on the IE team, who has been at a number of Microsoft events presenting on Internet Explorer. He explained that Microsoft is using a custom implementation of WebGL, which sits on top of (well sort of) DirectX. In fact, WebGL and DirectX share a lot of functionality (although DirectX, of course, is not open source, and not used by any other browsers besides IE):