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MSN Virtual Earth Team - Virtual Earth Ships

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A couple of months ago we interviewed the Virtual Earth team and got an early look at what they were planning. They have now gone live so we went back and interviewed the team again. They jumped right into a demo and talked about some hot secret features: locate me and a developer SDK.

Want more?
Visit the Virtual Earth site at http://virtualearth.msn.com ( http://www.virtualearth.com should also work) to give it a test drive. 

To see how Dare Obasanjo built a lookup for movies in your neighborhood, check out his Movie Finder site that is built using Virtual Earth.

Check out Chandu's blog who is from the Virtual Earth Team. I bet he'll have even more to share.

Pictured here is Steve Lombardi, program manager, Matthew Cheung, and Cody Ebberson (runs the developer program). The team is keeping a blog on MSN Spaces where they are responding to complaints and praise and giving even more tips.

Oh, and the "ViaVirtualEarth" site will have links to lots of developer information, among other info.

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  • Nata1Nata1 .Search - Google Appliance killer
    awesome!!! I was waiting along time for this, check out their blog http://spaces.msn.com/members/virtualEarth/

    and they shoot off a bunch of model rockets
  • Doesn't work for me yet Sad
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    They are working on getting it up. Watch the video. It should be up by the time the video ends. Smiley
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    Chandu and Steve tell me their blogs will come up as soon as everything is up and working properly.
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    Mac users might want to wait to watch it until tomorrow (the download will be better quality for Macs, sorry about that).
  • That locate me thing is just crazy -- CRAZY -- I mean GeoIP is impressive but that's just crazy!
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    I guarantee you the Virtual Earth team is watching this thread. So are thousands of other Microsoft employees. Smiley

    The team is also watching a variety of blog search engines. So, if you say it sucks here (or praise it, we like those too!), or on your blog, the team will see it!
  • If the Virtual Earth team does see this...I love this web service, and all...but my house isn't there Sad Central Ohio was like forgotten. Columbus (the capital) and all. I want to try out that locate me hehe. Although the map of my neighborhood is completely inaccurate, same goes for google maps. I dont know what that is, but apparently my cul de sac is a straight street...it is messed up.
  • Well Virtual Earth team, my no.1 request for it is to actually allow me to visit the site Wink
  • Nata1Nata1 .Search - Google Appliance killer
    how many times have I said this -
    "another channel9 video that makes me realize how much I don't like Minnesota and my job" Tongue Out
  • ChanduChandu ChaMag
    Scoble is right, we are watching this thread to collect your feedback! Smiley
  • Once again Microsoft showed their middle finger to Mac users. I know it will be fix in the future but still it's later than the Windows version. This is one of the reasons some people don't like Microsoft very much. Now you know why.
  • Great job Virtual Earth team. I am very excited to see this go online.

    I was very impressed with Steven's explanation of the "Locate me" feature. He explained it very well and this feature has got me hooked.

    At first I was a little iffy on Virtual Earth because of some of the features Google Earth has such as the 3D stuff. But after thinking about it, I don't use the 3D stuff that often.

    Why would I need to see where I'm going in 3D if all I want to do is find a route to take or find out where I am? Its not like I'm flying or hovering or anything.

    Another thing I like about Virtual Earth right from the start is the fact its web-based. Google Earth is a downloadble program. And even with Google Earth being a downloadable program, I had to wait for things to render (or turn that feature of) or maps to download. I like Virtual Earth being web-based alot more. And when it was online for a short time last night, Virtual Earth was FAST! Very sharp.

    Nice job guys!

    - Brandon
    MSTechToday.com

  • MinhMinh WOOH!  WOOH!
    Are you guys watching the bandwidth? My browser spins & spins...
  • To be fair Scoble ment the Mac version of the Video is not the best quality.  Virtual earth works in safari and FF for the mac.  I tested it yesterday....

    Better video would be nice Scoble, but mac users are not on your high priority list since you have been getting spanked by them on your blog.
  • To be fair Scoble ment the Mac version of the Video is not the best quality.  Virtual earth works in safari and FF for the mac.  I tested it yesterday....

    Better video would be nice Scoble, but mac users are not on your high priority list since you have been getting spanked by them on your blog.
  • stevelomstevelom Don't forget to bring a towel!
    Virtual earth runs pretty well on Macs! I have personally run it in Firefox on the mac and it is nearly identical to the PC. I have also run in Safari - there were a few minor Javascipt bugs, but nothing to limit core functionality. the main Safari issue is that the Javascript for the tools menu is not working. We are looking into this, but until we have a Fix, Mac users can use Firefox for full functionality, or Safari for everything but the Tools menu.

  • Soft launch was better......it worked....22:00 PDT and still no VE??
  • *looks at watch*

    1 hour late so far. Wink
  • To add in addition to fixing my neighborhood layout (new friends can't seem to get to my house ever without calling, all the maps get it wrong) and making central ohio available...I would like to add I would like full transparency effects in firefox, of course once IE 7 is available and assuming it works well, and looks nice, I will probably be switching to that.
  • Wow ... nothing. I know it's a new service and people are trying to get to it, but geez, why release it when it's not ready for the heavy loads? This causes a bad impression.

    I remember when I first saw maps.google.com, it was up, running and responsive. C'mon!
  • I was a little frustrated over the low quality of the video for the Mac. I believe it was apprent. But I am having problem accessing the site. Apprently all the people are trying to access the thing and it just can't take it. What does it run anyway? Windows Server 2003 or 2000? I wouldn't think *BSD or *NIX, yes?
  • Maybe you need Windows Vista to see the site???????

    I feel like I am in Jurasic Park??? We are on the ride but all the Dino's are no shows.....I hope Virtual Earth doesn't want to find us mac (and windows) users and eat us........
  • Nothing to see here move on...........(insert bad cricket sound)
  • stevelomstevelom Don't forget to bring a towel!
    The site hasn't been launched yet!! remeber what I said in the Video right at the beginning. Virtual Earth goes live Monday!

    I know everyone is eager to check it out, but just hang in there until the time we said it would be going live.
  • It is Monday in half the US. Wink

    And Scoble told us all it would be live by the time we finished watching the video. Wink
  • This means u2 mr. Scoble.
  • works for me now
  • AmitDekateAmitDekate Ain't I a stinker?
    Hey everyone,

    Virtual Earth is now live! Hope you have as much fun playing with it as we had building it.

  • Great job overall with Virtual Earth, but here are a few Firefox bugs I found:

    - Scroll wheel issue when zooming out. I can zoom in just fine with my scroll wheel in Firefox, but often when I zoom out with the wheel the map also pans south and eventually gets stuck.

    - Zoom slider and directional pad often get "stuck" and require an extra click in order to stop zoom or scrolling, respectively.

    - Minor: The bounding box for the X on windows such as the welcome panel is a bit larger than it should be.

    - Very Minor: No transparency on the top blue banner.

    It'd be nice if these issues could be corrected. Smiley

  • Kevin DalyKevin Daly Because.
    Having non-US locations included in the search feature (even if it's just cities and towns, which you do after all show) would be nice.
  • Bug report:

    Scroll wheel doesn't work on Mac????

    Oh never mind - one botton mouse - my bad

    (scoble we don't take ourselves too serious)
  • issue:

    I tried the blogit feature and got this message when directed to link:

    Space not available
    This MSN Spaces feature requires Internet Explorer 6.0 for Windows or later. Please download the latest version of Internet Explorer.
    So MS spaces cant use FF?  Lame....Blotit not a feature unless it can support all browsers.....
  • Started a spaces blog for anyone who cares:


    http://spaces.msn.com/members/virtualearthsucks/

  • tomwarrencreamhacker​ed Beta Addict
    Someone raised a good point on the Neowin http://www.neowin.net/comments.php?id=29614&category=main#comments comments.

    World trade centre...

    http://virtualearth.msn.com/default.aspx?cp=40.711887|-74.011859&style=h&lvl=16&v=1
  • Isn't the ability to get (and print!) driving directions a key scenario once the novelty of glancing at aerial views of my childhood home and the White House wears off?  I  wonder if most repeat visitors to map sites are searching for directions or for the Hollywood sign...

    Following the "Drive To" and "Drive From" links takes me to the same old MSN Maps & Directions, cluttered with ads and loads of extraneous information, and lacking all of the cool new VE features!

    Bugs after playing around for 2.5 minutes:

    Many of my searches seem to be timing out... the location window just says "Loading..." indefinitely, with no status updates if a timeout occurs.

    VE seems to be having some issues finding locations that Google Maps finds without any problems, like "magnolia & tujunga, north hollywood ca".

    Search for "4th & pike, seattle wa", text in the scratch pad replaces '&' with '& a m p ;'

    Anyhow, cool app, and congrats on the launch!  I'm sure you'll work out all the kinks with time.
  • fdezjosefdezjose Hello from Madrid...

    This is pretty cool stuff. It's a pity there's no street level aerial photos and road map for other countries yet.
    It would be really cool that when you use the blog it feature apart from giving you the link it would also appear an image of the map. 

    Keep the good job!

  • Awesome stuff Smiley


    Have installed the Microsoft Location Finder...

    1. When I right click location finder in the notification area and select help, the Microsoft Location Finder Help file, are placed right over the current window in IE, forcing users to use the back button.
    It would be more practical to open a new window for the help file.

    2. The auto run feature (automatically run location finder when I log on to windows), are located under the settings option.
    I think it would be easier if you just placed an auto run menu item that the user could check/uncheck

  • FlatlinerFlatliner With our thoughts we make the world.

    Awesome Aerial Photography and cool features, but I think a name change to Virtual USA would be more appropriate. Coming from Australia, this thing is pretty much useless to me, just as KeyHole was: "Cool Novelty" but not useful.
    Don't even seem to have London covered?
    And the "Where" search, doesn't even believe that cities outside of the US even exist? Let alone show a map of them... Very disappointing

  • I just noticed this as I was playing with the software. 

    Is there no way to get directions within virtual earth? 

    If you click the directions to/from link, it takes you to maps.msn.com

    It would be nice if eventually the directions were directly in virtual earth instead of having to use an external application.  Just a thought. 
  • Deactivated UserDeactivated User

    Comment removed at user's request.

  • How old are the pictures?  For example, where I work the building we are in is a little over 3.5 years old.  But doesn't show up on virtualearth.  it shows up on Google.
    Also it is still running quite slow Sad
  • MisterDonutMisterDonut The Disco Godfather
    I downloaded the "Locate Me" plug in, etc.. I'm on my company's Wifi, and It has me two states away... Smiley

  • BlueFirehawk02Blue​Firehawk02 I Code, Therefore, I Am
    It's an excellent first attempt at duplicating Google's product.

    I would however say although Google has less photographic detail in regards to total u.s. satellite coverage, the content they do have is better in that it is more recent than the virtual earth pictures, which I assume are circa 2000 or older (WTC is still standing in NYC). Google has circa 2003-04 from what I can tell and is more valuable in this case. No doubt MS will update their photo data... I only hope it will happen sooner rather than later, otherwise this product will be 2nd best, rather than the best.

    Take care,

    Rob
  • WayneBWayneB Got my own Far Side comic.
    If this had come out before Google maps I'd be impressed.

    Other than that, Google maps has a much nicer feel to it.
  • HarlequinHarlequin http:/​/​twitter.​com/True​Harlequin
    What's the media going to focus on? The fact that the World Trade Center towers are still sitting there according to the Virtual Earth map. Heads should roll for that one
  • That is pretty cool, I would have to agree, I still like google's version, however, I also noted this is still a beta...

    Anyhow one thing that would be cool, if it is possible, would be when I use the scroll wheel, it will zoom in/out on the area I am hovering over.

  • Any chance it will cover europe better than it does now? (Not really cool unless you live in the US Wink)
  • I wanna see my house Sad Everyone else gets to use the locate me ;P
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    Yes, Virtual Earth will be upgraded to the rest of the world. You might check the VE Team Blog: http://spaces.msn.com/members/virtualearth/

    They are responding to the feedback as it comes in.
  • I like the way the search follows as you move around the map. That was one thing that bugged me about google maps a while back. One thing about the virtual earth which would be nice is if I search for something in an area and find no results, it would be nice if it wouldn't bump my other searches (which had results) off of the list.

    And although the searches may be 'more accurate' like in the buca example, it seems for general terms, there is a lot of filtering and it is hard to find things.

    Example: Pet Groomer in Renton, WA
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Pet+Groomer&ll=47.483105,-122.216377&spn=0.148122,0.286039&t=k&near=Renton,+WA&num=10&start=0&hl=en

    http://virtualearth.msn.com/default.aspx?ss=Pet%20Groomers&cp=47.475281|-122.205015&style=r&lvl=12&sp=adr.17821%20152nd%20Pl%20SE%2C%20Renton%2C%20WA%2098058&v=1

    I tried a few other general terms and seemed to reach the same results.

    I'm kind of glad you didn't waste time with driving directions in 1.0. I think the google driving directions are weak. The tech is cool, but actually printing and then following is ugly and I still use yahoo maps for that (although I do use the maps to print out a nice big view of my endpoint so that I do not get lost on the little streets) Plus, it never remembers anything (scratch pad is cool) and the highlights do not print.

    Nice work for a first revision though! After you fix the tiling issues which seem to be there today (probably due to load), I can see myself starting to use this tool since you seemed to look at google, addressed the shortcomings, and rolled out a more useful product.

  • http://maps.google.com/maps?q=three+mile+island&ll=40.149095,-76.741219&sll=37.062500,-95.677068&spn=0.063448,0.116927&sspn=35.425547,63.017578&t=h&num=10&start=0&hl=en

    http://virtualearth.msn.com/default.aspx?cp=40.153947|-76.725378&style=h&lvl=16&v=1

    Three mile island looks better in MSN than it does in google. Always wanted to see it without going there... Wink I have a challenge for the Virtual Earth team. Become the first online mapping/satalite service that covers every inch of the united states in high quality images so we can zoom in max everywhere. Granted it might take a while, but do it before your competitors do! Imagine the bragging rights on that!
  • You know the wildcard "*" never seems to work.
  • yyyyyy Developer
    Will we ever see in this service photos like this: http://www.betanews.com/slideshow/MSN_Virtual_Earth/11 ? If yes so - any idea when?
  • HarlequinHarlequin http:/​/​twitter.​com/True​Harlequin
    Yeah, Google has the speed, but I think Microsoft has the detail. Microsoft's satellite pics just seem to be a lot clearer, and they also seem to go 1 to 2 extra zooms closer than Google.
  • Map service with no driving directions == useless.

    Sorry, but aside from looking at old satellite pictures of my house, I'm not sure what much I can do with this.
  • It's called competition. Last I heard, that was allowed in this country.  Do you expect everyone else to just stand still while Google spanks them?
  • kidzi wrote:
    It's called competition. Last I heard, that was allowed in this country.  Do you expect everyone else to just stand still while Google spanks them?


    I missed the post where anybody said MS shouldn't compete, or that it was illegal for them to do so. (or that competition is bad for consumers)
  • Scoble, I have a question that I would like answered...why is it in none of these satalite images that we never see air planes? I assume they are edited out, but how? I would just like to know the process Tongue Out
  • I just tried installing the "Locate Me" program on my brothers laptop and Norton Antivirus 2003 doesn't like it.
    It says ALERT: Malicious script detected.
    Object - windows Script Host shell Object
    Activity - Run
    Your computer is halted and needs to do someting about this script:
    File - MsiExe.exe

    I've never seen Norton 2003 do anything like this. It's usually pretty smart at figuring out what's malicious and what isn't.

    BTW: I just wanted to test it out even though
    I know it's not gonna work because I'm not even in the US. The IP locate thing at least finds where the ISP is located.
  • dentaku wrote:
    I just tried installing the "Locate Me" program on my brothers laptop and Norton Antivirus 2003 doesn't like it.
    It says ALERT: Malicious script detected.
    Object - windows Script Host shell Object
    Activity - Run
    Your computer is halted and needs to do someting about this script:
    File - MsiExe.exe

    I've never seen Norton 2003 do anything like this. It's usually pretty smart at figuring out what's malicious and what isn't.

    BTW: I just wanted to test it out even though
    I know it's not gonna work because I'm not even in the US. The IP locate thing at least finds where the ISP is located.


    I tried that too. I clicked allow script and it worked fine... fine as in it worked, I don't live anywhere near Minnesota.
  • i really am digging virtual earth. I think it is great - better than google maps as far as useability..I just with there was driving directions built in, and not using another window and MSN Maps!
  • harumscarumharumscarum out of memory
    ElCapitanAmerica wrote:
    Map service with no driving directions == useless.

    Sorry, but aside from looking at old satellite pictures of my house, I'm not sure what much I can do with this.


    ditto. I use google maps frequently for directions. I guess some of this is cool but I fail to see how it is useful for me.
  • ScaleOvenStove wrote:
    i really am digging virtual earth. I think it is great - better than google maps as far as useability..I just with there was driving directions built in, and not using another window and MSN Maps!


    How can you say the USEability is better than google maps when you point out it doesn't do driving directions. Again, can we finding directions is one of the main USEs of mapping software (if not the MAIN use)???
  • IanIan Proud to be geek ....

    Early days yet, but I am in the UK and Google Earth looks to have better support for us at the moment.

  • moofishmoofish Living in Scotland, UK
    I just had a spiffing idea! It seems that Wi-Fi's pervasiveness at the street level its cheaper, more accurate and less prone to interfirence than GPS and what would this be good for - meta-data on digital camera picture of course!

    Take the Kodak EasyShare One, it has Wi-Fi capabilities, using the co-ordinates much the same as Virtual Earth does the camera could then insert the street location into the pictures meta-data. Thus a cheap way to get GPS like functionality into mainstream consumer cameras and digital phones alike!!

    On top of that if Virtual Earth is intergrated into Windows Vista properly and if the meta-data of the picture contained the co-ordinates, then when the pictures are transferred onto computer (wirelessly of course) an Eagle Eye 45deg view of the exact location of the picture could be shown side by side the image bringing up a whole plethera of new and potential interactivity with your images.

    **That sounds entirely do-able and I would expect functionality something very similar to this in the comming version of Windows**
  • If they cover earth with wifi, we could truely be connected all the time, and use it the same way gps does, it does sound pretty neat. I know that Bill Gates invests in a company that does broadband by satalite, I dont remember the name of it though. (I had to do a report on him) I am not sure if I am hitting on what you were saying, but it is my understanding you wanted to use wifi as a locator instead of GPS.
  • moofish wrote:

    On top of that if Virtual Earth is intergrated into Windows Vista properly and if the meta-data of the picture contained the co-ordinates, then when the pictures are transferred onto computer (wirelessly of course) an Eagle Eye 45deg view of the exact location of the picture could be shown side by side the image bringing up a whole plethera of new and potential interactivity with your images.


    Horrible idea. A webapp like this shouldn't be intagrated into any OS, that's the point of webapps, they're integrated in browsers (ideally using well defined standards). Webapp to OS integration features are gimmicks, not great design ideas.
  • zzzzzzzzzz Yes its an Economy vehicle
    i love it google, msn and others still have my house mislabeled  2 miles away on a different street.  HAHA can you find i don't think so
  • Orbit86 wrote:
    just another competitor copycat, looks like when someone makes good software MSFT can't handle that and crapitize the industry.

    when will MSFT copy Froogle and Google Print.Print I have to say is brilliant work, this is cool! goo Google!!!

    who ever thought a search engine will make msft scared., I like how msft thinks MSN Search will take over Google when google is a staple of search engine life.

    I'm waiting for the Microsoft Zombies to reply and say "ms is the best!!! goo msft! while they license you the software instead of you owning it"

    I remember if it was MS Word 97 or something older that if you just typed 5 across the serial key # it would let you in, it was hilarious


    Right, I agree with you that Google went on a innovation spree while MS/Yahoo thought no one could compete them.
    Competition is mother of all  innovation (i think i guess to some extent),
    It thrives you to innovate and make your presence to the user.
    I would say in some areas MS still beats the rest.

    MSVE is pretty good but still needs work. Here's something funny I dont know its my browser problem or something. I use Firefox for everything and to compare i use IE so I tried MSVE in FF its slow very slow(I dont know why) I tried this on T1 line. I did some searches near my area(NY) and it took a loooong time to display the list of names near my area.
    Some aerial images are old very old compared to Google.
    Also its very annoying window when i search for something and it displays 5-10 places and i move my mouse a big window displays its annoying it will nice to display the window *Only* when i want click on it.

    Zoom In/out is cool. adding driving directions will nice with interactive tour..
    I use MS S&T 2005 I wish if something like this can be added to MS S&T 2006.

    I will add more of my comments if MSVE Team like.

    Arun

     


  • That looks completely ugly. If the user layout for pictures, and non available pictures could be fixed, that'd be nice!
  • This is awesome!

    Here's a few things I noticed:

    - The mouse-wheel support in FF is funky, but that's understandable since there's no "onmousewheel" event in FF. I'm pretty sure they faked it using the "onscroll" event or something and for that it works really well.
    - I have no idea why they're using greyscale images on some parts of the map. Even if it was difficult to obtain color photos, this is something people will definitely complain about, especially since google maps is all color.  The "colorized" black & whites images look quite ridiculous.
    - The Road map/Aerial photo links are easy to overlook.
    - The "what and where" search, in my opinion is too complicated. It would be much easier and more user friendly if you could do searches like "Italian restaurant in Chicago" using a single input box.
    - The labels on the aerial photos are excellent.
    - The resolution of some of the aerial photos is stunning.

    I think it's taken Microsoft a while to fully understand the potential of AJAX (which Microsoft technically invented), but with stuff like VE or Start.com, I think they're on the right track.

    Great job.
  • NetRyderNetRyder Tech Junkie
    Alright, here we go. My thoughts, copied over from my blog post on the subject...

    ------------
    Rather than posting my opinion of MSN VE based solely on first impressions, I thought I'd get a little more familiar with it first, and now that I have, my reactions are mixed. Let's take it step by step...

    General UI:
    I personally think Virtual Earth wins in this area, although some may think otherwise. The ability to zoom in and out using the scrollwheel (or the touchpad edge) makes navigation just so much more natural as compared to using a separate slider control, and it's less jerky than Google's implementation. The "game panning" navigation, which kicks in if you use the compass-like UI element is also very smooth. MSN VE and Google Maps are tied when it comes to keyboard navigation though - the implementations are almost identical, although as mentioned earlier, zooming in and out using the + and - keys is smoother with VE.

    Roadmaps:
    There's no real comparison I can make in this area, other than to say MSN VE's color scheme is a little more subdued as compared to Google's brighter colors. Which one you prefer is largely a matter of personal preference. To me, the difference is small enough to make it insignificant.

    Satellite imagery:
    Ah, this seems to be a sort of hit-and-miss thing, where one does better than the other depending on your location. I found that here in the California region, MSN VE's satellite imagery is significantly better than Google's. The level to which you can zoom in is nothing short of impressive! VE uses the same imagery as TerraServer, which I've used before, so this didn't come as a surprise to me. However, when I jumped over to the New York area, the result was disappointing. Google offers full color satellite imagery here, whereas MSN VE only has grayscale images available, which aren't quite as clear either. Some people have also noticed that MSN's images might be older than the ones Google has acquired. The MSN VE team has announced that it is working towards acquiring updated images. All I can say here is that depending on your location, your mileage may vary, and vary quite a bit it may. =)

    Layering and the Scratchpad:
    Props to the MSN VE team for both of these unique features. They're extremely convenient for local search applications. I always found it a little irritating when my previous search results on Google Maps were wiped off the map when I searched for something else. MSN VE uses a layered approach, whereby it allows you to perform multiple local searches one after another and displays the results on the map using different colored flags. So if you're travelling, and looking for your hotel, and also want to find any chinese restaurants nearby, it becomes really convenient. The scratchpad allows you to add multiple locations to it, which is a handy tool to have if you're going on a trip and want to keep track of all the different stops you're going to make on the map, in addition to the starting point and destination. If I need to do local searches from now on, I know where I'll be going.

    Locate Me:
    This is another very unique feature originally developed at Microsoft Research that uses WiFi triangulation to determine your location on the map. It seemed to work really well in the Channel9 video, but for some reason, VE used the IP reverse-lookup method to find my location even though I had the little Location Finder app installed and running. So the best that it could do was to tell me I was in Los Angeles. Not bad, but nothing earth-shattering. Maybe there weren't enough wireless access points around me? This can end up being a really cool feature once it starts to work for everybody though.

    The disappointment:
    And this is the big one...really big. Big enough that I couldn't believe it when I first tried it. MSN VE has no driving directions! How could this not be the top priority? The single most important reason people using online mapping services is to find driving directions. Without that, everything else just becomes a novelty that will wear out sooner or later. From what I can tell, the base is there - anything that you search for has "Drive from" and "Drive to" links associated with it. The problem is that clicking either of these links, rather than overlaying directions on the existing map, takes you over to the old MSN Maps site, where the user experience is just sub-par. The banner ads on MSN Maps take up more space than the map itself! This is a real shame for an otherwise wondeful implementation. If anyone on the MSN VE team is reading this (and I heard they're looking for feedback on blogs), I really urge you to make this your number one priority for the Fall refresh! "Eagle-eye" view is incredibly cool, and it's something I know everyone is waiting for, but this is a far more useful addition that really needs attention.

    To sum it all up, I feel that the lack of driving directions on MSN VE is enough to prevent me from moving away from Google Maps for now. I'll still start using VE for local searches though, since the implementation is just so much nicer. However, I see the amazing potential that VE has, and once driving directions, eagle-eye views, and updated satellite imagery are in, I'll switch completely without a second thought. Just not yet.
    ------------

    To the folks on the MSN VE team:
    Keep up the great work, guys! =)
  • NetRyder wrote:
    The disappointment:
    And this is the big one...really big. Big enough that I couldn't believe it when I first tried it. MSN VE has no driving directions! How could this not be the top priority? The single most important reason people using online mapping services is to find driving directions. Without that, everything else just becomes a novelty that will wear out sooner or later.


    I noticed on the video that when Scoble asked about this they changed the subject very quickly as if they were thinking 'oh crap - we forgot that'!
  • moofishmoofish Living in Scotland, UK
    Intelman: “I am not sure if I am hitting on what you were saying, but it is my understanding you wanted to use wifi as a locator instead of GPS”

    That’s right, it’s cheaper and could be done quicker than equipping handsets and cameras with expensive and inaccurate GPS. Everyone wants GPS don’t they, well a lot of handsets and now some cameras have Wi-Fi so I see this as the best way to get it sooner rather than later.

    Orbit86: “but companies don't want cheap prices for internet access..means they make less profit..”

    Don’t be stupid, its give and take. Why would handset managers even put Wi-Fi in handsets for profit and for free services - in many areas Wi-Fi access is free and my original point was to have this for cameras and only mobiles as an afterthought.

    Orbit86: “why would Virtual Earth be embedded into Windows, We don't need to embed everything and plus not everyone needs virtual earth”

    Of course we need embedded everything, everything must work together and should - that’s the utopia most are working towards. I would like virtual Earth in Windows, it should be optional for those that of course that are childish enough to be irritated with Windows but use it anyway …but that’s not my problem. All I can say is look at search technology, that’s now a part of Windows, and so will this be.

    ElCapitanAmerica: “Horrible idea. A webapp like this shouldn't be intagrated into any OS, that's the point of webapps, they're integrated in browsers (ideally using well defined standards). Webapp to OS integration features are gimmicks, not great design ideas.”

     
    Maybe I should have made suggestions more clear, those that would like it could have this option. Obeserve the picture user ‘yyy’ posted http://www.betanews.com/slideshow/MSN_Virtual_Earth/11 Now I know if I had a came across a picture on my HDD and clicked the option to show me the place in real life I would jump at it - why, because it could have been a little shanty town area of China or a back street in France from a memorable holiday, that is why. If you can’t appreciate that then don’t select the option.


    Just for the record as you guessed “Webapp to OS integration” much like messenger would be what I and many want, MS 's direction is to get web apps to behave as if they’re native apps and that is exactly what we have now and will see more of.

     
    Keep it up VE team!!
  • Hi... i have made a page using Virtual Earth hope ypu like it.. This page is basically to test the service.

    http://www.freesitemap.com

    Hope you like it.

    By the way i beleive currently Google API is easier to use and the zoom level 1 is better in Google it will be great if you can have a look and consider this suggestions.

    Regards
  • Was it this board or someother... someone said that MSN maps offer better zoom than Google's.

     That's NOT true.  The best zoom on MSN is 150 yards. Whereas google can zoom up to 110 yards. Also the majority of the best zoom level images on google are full color while it's not so in MSN.

     
     I also like the "Hybrid" feature in google. Somehow it feels much more seamless and neater than MSN's "with labels" images.

     Finally i got to say this, imitiation is the best form of flattery.

  • moofishmoofish Living in Scotland, UK
    ***Thank god those images have been removed***

    Anyway I just had another great idea for Virtual Earth, and some of you will be pleased its a wholly online idea.

    The guy who spammed this and several other stories is a bit like someone trying to hack your computer, I remember Symantec tried to obtain a hackers I.P. and then let you report it, and search for them on a map. Well considder MS Antispyware or their real-time firewall equivilent catching someone snooping on your HDD, why not use their I.P. to locate their house and then show it on Virtual Earth, I know there are concerns for accuracy but surely these will improve and its not likeSymantec was accurate.

    MS have the tools now, so why not find out where uninvited intruders live and report them too. It'd be interesting to see if someone all the way in Russia hacked me in the UK.
  • Orbit86 wrote:
    just another competitor copycat, looks like when someone makes good software MSFT can't handle that and crapitize the industry.


    You're so full of soundbites with little or doubtful factual substance it's unbelievable - you should be in politics Smiley

    Google maps and Google earth are 2 separate products, as opposed to a single integrated one. And google didn't develop them, they, uh, bought the companies (WhereTo = Google Maps, Keyhole = Google Earth).

    MS have been developing TerraServer for years - and it looks like a lot of VE will integrate with that.

    So your point that MSFT are copying someone else on this one is not valid, nor is your perception that GOOG do everything from scratch. At the end of the day, people have businesses to run...

    I'd put some facts in front of you to address some of your other esoteric rants but I couldn't be bothered. Got a real job to do Smiley
  • hswhsw

    Is there a way that I can report bugs to VirtualEarth team?
    The city of Houston and near by towns have been quite messed up within the hybrid mode. Streets label aren't even on top of street, but on top of houses.

    http://virtualearth.msn.com/default.aspx?cp=29.57584|-95.626695&style=h&lvl=16&v=1

  • I liked Virtual earth alot at frist, Since they have photos of EVERYWHERE, but then i noticed that they had alot of very old photos of old buildings that do nto exist and NO new ones. then i read that they are from 1991. I think photos that old render a program useless because alot of things change 18 or so years.

    I love how its browser based also. Other programs make you download a program and then make you pay alot to be able to use that program the way you want.

    As soon as virtual earth has newer pictures, i'll be the very best one.
  • moofishmoofish Living in Scotland, UK
    1+1=2
    http://gps.engadget.com/entry/1234000067037629/
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    http://blogs.msdn.com/msnsearch/archive/2005/08/02/447331.aspx has a lot more info.
  • moofishmoofish Living in Scotland, UK
    http://www.grazer.de/grazer_home/index_en.html

    http://www.grazer.de/exif_mapper/

    http://www.grazer.de/grazer_home/index_en.html

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