MSN Virtual Earth

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Just a quick note before I head out this morning for San Diego. MSN Virtual Earth is up and running. Looks like they are using the Terraserver images in the background and some more up to date aerials in the urban areas. That works much nicer than those low-res satellite images that Google has and you can zoom in much closer than Google Maps can. The transparency on the toolbar and search is nice as you can see the data layers underneath. I’m quite impressed with it and I think it looks much better than Google Maps to the eye. I might change my mind after using it, but I’ll try it more tonight.

Robert Scoble says that there will be an announcement Monday morning while we are listening to Jack Dangermond. Guess we’ll have to take advantage of the wireless network to find out what they say about MSN Virtual Earth.


[Update] – Check out this comparison between Google Maps and MSN Virtual Earth.


MSN Virtual Earth Revisited

Remember my post this morning when I said I liked the look of MSN Virtual Earth? Well I still do but unlike Google Maps it isn’t as easy to use. The more you try other solutions, the more respect one has for how well Google Maps works. Simplicity is key here and MSN Virtual Earth just can’t hold a candle to Google Maps. Four quick thoughts on MSN Virtual Earth before I head down to the beach…

  1. Didn’t anyone at Microsoft get the memo that the Earth is round? Why can’t I pan from Alaska to Russia?
  2. The Microsoft Terraserver images are nice, but how about adding some for other countries. I don’t mind B&W images as long as the are crisp, but the lack of coverage outside the USA is really bad.
  3. How about adding the word BETA somewhere on MSN Virtual Earth? Lets not get carried away here.
  4. Why do they have two separate search fields? Can’t they just use one and figure out a way to parse out what I want? They just take up too much room on the toolbar for not much added value.

It is a nice first start and some of the features won’t be available until Monday at the official launch. I just don’t see anything here to make me stop using Google Maps as my primary online mapping tool.