Here's the low down from Alex Daley (VE Product Manager):
Tonight, we launched the new version of Windows Live Local, introducing features like user collections and integration with Windows Live Favorites, real-time traffic in 35 US metros, expansion into UK and Canada, and loads of other new features that our user have been asking for. Check it out: http://local.live.com
Collections are a major evolutionary step for our scratchpad. They allow users to not only add business listings or custom pushpins to their scratchpad, but to save multiple different collections to the cloud using their Windows Live ID and share those collections with friends, family, colleagues, or the internet community as a whole. Try it out—create a collection of your favorite places to eat when on the road, historic theaters where you grew up, strange oddities like giant yarn balls and frying pans in the Midwest, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Share the links with your IM buddies, over email, or blog them to Spaces.
And when you do try out collections, make sure to upload a few to www.PassThePOI.com.
With support for about three dozen metro areas in the US, our partnership with Traffic.com provides our users with additional tools to enhance the mapping and directions experience. Flow data shows a quick visual representation of current traffic conditions across a wide area, making it easy to spot and avoid trouble spots. Incident and construction information adds more detail, giving users a better idea what might be causing a delay so they can judge how long it might last.
In this release, we have added support for Canada and the UK with maps, routing, address find support, local search, and more. We have expanded bird’s eye for the first time outside the US by adding a variety of locations in the UK. We will continue to add bird’s eye with the goal of covering at minimum 80% of the US and western European populations within 2 years, plus much more I am sure.
With this release, we also added support for city to city routing across most of western Europe, Australia and other regions.
With this release, we have also updated the Virtual Earth Map Control with support for driving directions, geo-coding, instant mashups with Windows Live Local collections, and more. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/VEMapControl/HTML/Introduction.asp for more info on the API.