Virtual Earth goes live


I just saw on Steve Rubel’s blog that Virtual Earth has gone live. I’ve been playing around with the internal release of Virtual Earth for some time – so I know how killer it is. I don’t know what Channel 9 video Scoble keeps alluding to but my bet is on it being one with the Virtual Earth team.The official release is only on Monday so expect server performance to be spotty till then.


Here’s the Virtual Earth team blog where they talk about unique ways to take team photos among other things. 🙂


Here are the killer features so far for me



  •  High resolution and detail. In fact, Virtual Earth seems to be competing as much with Google Earth as with Google Maps.
  • The scratchpad – which lets you blog a location, email, etc.
  • Search that ‘just works’. What do I mean? Search for ‘Statue of Liberty’ on Virtual Earth and on Google Maps to see what I mean.
  • Mouse scroll to zoom in and out. Yes, I know you can do the same on the keypad with Google Maps but I prefer this model.

Here are a couple of tech landmarks I tried out.


Microsoft campus


One Infinite Loop


 


Features I want in Virtual Earth? The ability to search for locations outside the United States. Searching for ‘India’ doesn’t give me anything today.


Update: I was wrong about that. Here’s where I work right now. 🙂


I’m sure the blogosphere is going to be abuzz with comparisons with Google Maps so before anyone else, here’s one comparison from me.I searched for a relatively famous company with offices in Mountain View.  Compare the resolution on Virtual Earth and on Google Maps.


Google Maps at maximum zoom


Virtual Earth at maximum zoom


Virtual Earth team – you rock!


Update: The blogosphere is already abuzz!  8559 posts already on Technorati and 3212 hits on Feedster


Also, here’s an example site built using the developer SDK. Scoble has also done a Channel 9 video. Shows off the scratchpad, wildcard search among others.


 


Comments (8)

  1. zzz says:

    The Virtual Earth max zoom you gave isn’t really all that more detailed that what Google gives, however if you compare them at about equal distance from the surface VE’s photos of that particular place are bit better – however most of the time Google Earth aerial shots are better and they are better stitched. Hopefully VE will improve over time. GE has been improving their aerial images a lot lately.

  2. Luke says:

    unfortunatly, the quality might be slightly better, but the fact that there is little to no international data means that google will probably be continued to be used more.

  3. Anantha Srirama says:

    Here’s another ‘cool’ feature. Place an address in your scratchpad and then move around a little bit and then click on the address in the scratchpad. If the location is close by to what’s on the screen it pans the screen!!!

  4. Sridhar Ratna says:

    Searched for bangalore .. got "No results were found. Try another search, or click help to learn more."

  5. sriram says:

    Sridhar – right now, the beta is meant for the US only with more countries planned for the future. But I’m sure Bangalore is viewable through the map interface

  6. just wrote a comprehensive review and comparison of Virtual earth and Google Maps

    http://myschizobuddy.com/index.php?/archives/7-Virtual-Earth-and-Google-Maps-Comparison.html