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December 18, 2006 / Bob Black

Windows Live Virtual Earth

Have you seen the latest incarnation of Microsoft’s Virtual Earth? I dunno – but I think it’s safe to say that if they haven’t already trumped Google Earth, they will soon. Competition is definitely good. And so is this product.

I just visited for the first time in quite a while – maybe 3 months? On my last visit Virtual Earth was still in beta, and was clearly a stinker compared to Google’s product. But this – this is something to be proud of.

It’s interesting that Virtual Earth supports a web-based 3D view, whereas http://maps.google.com does not. To get 3D with Google, you have to download the standalone Google Earth, which is not web based, doesn’t do directions or traffic and so forth, and is completely separate and unrelated to the web based maps offering. Microsoft is, I think wisely, combining all of these features into a single, web-based offering, with AJAX and lots of Web 2.0 goodness sprinkled around to boot.

Microsoft is like a tiger when cornered. Remember Netscape anyone? The Google vs. Microsoft battle is proving to be oh so fun to watch.

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