updated 04:50 pm EDT, Tue July 29, 2008
MSN Direct syncs nav units
Microsoft on Tuesday released an open Application Programming Interface (API) for its MSN Direct Send to GPS feature for personal navigation devices. With the new software, Microsoft allows users to any website to send street addresses, latitude and longitude coordinates, business listings, phone numbers, and other information to their GPS devices, without the need to copy the location and input it into the compatible device.
Originally launched at the CES 2008 show, the newly updated MSN Direct version can send the mapping information to compatible navigation units wirelessly or via a USB connection. So far, the only MSN Direct-enabled automotive navigation devices are from Garmin, and include the nüvi 780 and 880 out of the box, or with the nüvi 5000, 750, 760 and 2x5-series devices when coupled with an optional MSN Direct receiver. The majority of other Garmin navigators can take advantage of the new feature via their USB ports. Alpine Electronics is already developing devices that will be MSN Direct Send to GPS compatible.
Developers who wish to take advantage of the API can do so free of charge, and Microsoft promises it is simple to integrate thanks to its use of standard Web programming techniques.