Update 1: The Virtual Earth Standard Control SDK is avilable on MSDN: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=4304174
The news is out: the MSN Virtual Earth site is now called Windows Live Local. Check it out:
The reviews so far have been great, and it is excellent to see such a positive response from our customers. It was from all of your excellent feedback from the first beta that we were able to build this next version. Thank you!
But, this is a developer blog, you say... What is the story with Windows Live Local for developers, you ask?... Windows Live Local is built on the Virtual Earth API, or rather on a new version of the API, you have all been using to build your applications. Along with Windows Live Local we are releasing the next version of the Virtual Earth Standard Control, v2. For non-commercial use, the updated control includes numerous bug fixes as well as simpler control initialization, automatic handling of resize events, improved navigation components now directly included in the map control, and many more improvements. With traditional road maps and aerial photo views, Virtual Earth provides unique options for developers to incorporate both location and local search capabilities into web applications. The Virtual Earth v2 API also delivers bird’s eye view imagery, high resolution, detailed imagery captured at 45 degree angles to the Earth for a real “what it’s like there” visual experience.
A note on breaking changes: While we strive to make migration from one control version to the next as simple as possible, the early versions of the control require us to make some changes to support additional functionality. There are a handful of minor breaking changes from v1 to v2 of the controls, and many applications will require quick updates to migrate to the new controls. We will follow up this post with a migration document and some tips and tricks really soon. The code changes are pretty trivial for most applications, mainly dealing with instantiating the control (which is now much easier). You should also note that a few of the methods for translating pixels to lat/long coordinates and vv are deprecated, so they will continue to work but should be updated to the new style to better accomodate the oblique angle views like bird's eye.
And, as you can imagine from our earlier post, the new controls are located at URLs on dev.virtualearth.net. They will be hosted side by side with the current versions, giving you a window to transition to the new control. We haven't determined exact dates yet, but because the first control was based on beta code it won't be a terribly long amount of time--probably about a month or 6 weeks. As we progress to full release code we will strive to increase this compatibility period (and also to make the transition as smooth as possible through minimal breaking changes).
The SDK and updated documentation are available on MSDN.
(If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or use the contact form above to email me.)