The reviews are in and most seem to think that ArcWeb Explorer isn’t up to the task. Adena started off with a pretty light review, but that was about the best ArcWeb Explorer could hope for. Jithen brought up the speed and GUI issues (that most everyone noted) as well as it having trouble displaying tiles as you panned or re-sized the browser window. I have to admit, the demo I saw before had much smoother panning that this beta version does. I can only assume that this is a result of many people using it. The navigation does seem backwards to what most web mapping applications do (My preference is to use the mouse wheel for zoom and the left click for pan). I had some problems with Flash 7 on some other browsers I don’t use as much and didn’t tell me to upgrade (Yahoo Maps did this too so its not just ESRI’s problem). I also spend WAY too much time trying to figure out if there was anything exposed from the API, but I came up empty.
Anyway, the verdict is mixed, but since this is a beta we’ll be able to help ESRI figure it out. I’m more interested in the API and seeing what people can do with the Public Services and ArcWeb Explorer. ArcWeb Explorer isn’t a competitor for Google/Yahoo!/Microsoft, but a front end to ArcWeb Services. We got to keep that in mind, but if it isn’t at least an equal to their web mapping services, people will look elsewhere.