Service: MSN Virtual Earth
Launched: July 23, 2005
What is it?
MSN Virtual Earth is an excellent mapping/satellite imagery application. Much like Google Earth (profile), it is fascinating to look at, and very useful as well. There is no download required (whereas Google Earth has a 10 meg download).
In addition to excellent search features, you can autolocate via your IP address (although I am in San Francisco today and it says I am in Seattle based on IP) or via a small download, which works very well. There is also a scratch pad to keep notes (there needs to be a print function added to this though).
Mandatory first searches, of course, were of my home in Manhatan Beach and my parents home in Anacortes. The picture quality in MSN Virtual Earth was better than Google Earth, and the picture quality of my parents home in Anacortes was decent, whereas Google had nothing to show for them. Overall, MSN wins in this very limited test:
Jeremy Wright posted an excellent review of the service and comparison to Google maps:
â€œFirst, MSNâ€™s Virtual Earth is 10 times easier to use than Google Maps. Between the little compass in VE that you can drag and itâ€™ll just scroll with you (instead of Google Mapsâ€™ â€œclick, drag, click, drag, click, drag”) and the ability to zoom much more easily in VE (you can scroll, you can hit the +/- keys on your keyboard OR you can double click), this is an app that is much more thought out.ï¿½?
â€œAt the same time, Virtual Earth is much easier to use from an â€œexploringï¿½? point of view. Hop off a plane, hit â€œLocate Me”, look for rental cars, then look for hotels, then look for somewhere to eat and then look for somewhere to catch a show. Boom, your whole day is planned and in your Scratch Pad.ï¿½?
Check out BoingBoing, on MSN “nuking” Apple’s headquarters.
Makeyougohmm, ThinkLemon, PostMoneyValue, Fusion94.org, sinceretheory, Ben Barren, Chris Pirillo, Jeff Nolan (“actually make that well over 3 years old for the images, I just recognized a car in the street that my neighbor used to drive”), SurfersSurf