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Microsoft Strives To Out-Google Google; Launches Beta Version MSN Virtual Earth Service
Service Gives People What Microsoft Calls an "Immersive" Way to Search, Discover and Explore Their World Online

"When you're in an unfamiliar city and need to find a nearby Chinese restaurant or ATM within walking distance of your hotel, a traditional Internet search experience won't give you the visual location-specific information you need," said Stephen Lawler (pictured), general manager of Microsoft's MapPoint business unit as Microsoft last night launched its answer to Google Maps - a beta version of MSN Virtual Earth, a service "enabling users to search, discover, explore, plan and share information and activities relevant to specific U.S. locations by combining aerial imagery, detailed maps and precise local search capabilities."

"MSN Virtual Earth provides a deeply immersive search experience that lets people see what it's like to be in a location and easily explore what they can do there," Lawler continued. He was responsible for the development and operation of the MapPoint Web Service, Microsoft’s first XML Web service

Users can access the beta version of the service at http://virtualearth.msn.com, he noted.

MSN Virtual Earth is integrated with the local features of MSN Search, MapPoint technologies and aerial imagery from TerraServer-USA to provide users with expansive search results.

Currently, MSN Virtual Earth provides detailed street-level maps and point-of-interest information for the United States. In the next beta release of MSN Virtual Earth scheduled for later this year, MSN plans to incorporate oblique, or bird's-eye, imagery licensed from Pictometry International Corp. that depicts cities, landmarks and points of interest at a 45-degree-angle view.

There is also a developer resource center (http://www.viavirtualearth.com), a third-party Web site from which developers can download the MSN Virtual Earth map control and find other information to help them start creating Web sites that incorporate the MSN Virtual Earth service.

About Jeremy Geelan
Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

I think Microsoft did a great job with this site. This is the first version and it has all the features of Google Maps. Even the hybrid mode Google added a few weeks ago.
And on some areas (San Francisco, Los Angeles...) the zoom level is insane (2 or 3 times better than Google's). You can nearly see people on the streets!!

Finally there are cool innovative features like locate me. And it works really good. With a little more work this could be as good or better than Google Maps.

Anyone tried zooming in on the Gates mansion yet?




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