Today Microsoft went live with Virtual Earth 3D, an online mapping system which is part of the Live Search experience which serves local search mapped results in a three-dimensional setting.
Currently Live Search offers 3-D results for 15 U.S. cities, which include San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Detroit, Phoenix, Houston, Baltimore, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas and Fort Worth. Live Search expects to expand Virtual Earth 3D to other major cities.
Microsoft will also be adding ‘billboard’ type advertising to the Live Search Virtual Earth 3D experience (more on the advertising technology from LiveSide):
Advertisements will be available within the Virtual Earth 3D experience. Similar to billboards on the side of roads, virtual billboards will be available throughout Live Search in the 3-D view. The ads available within the Virtual Earth 3D experience are created using a combination of technologies from Virtual Earth, Massive Inc. technology, and the advertising platform from Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions.
“The release of Virtual Earth 3D is a significant step toward creating a truly new dimension in search not only in the look and feel of the experience but in the way consumers and advertisers can be involved,” said Steve Berkowitz, senior vice president of the Online Services Group at Microsoft. “Local search is one of the fastest-growing categories online today, and adding features like 3-D will only help move the category further ahead and help Windows Live attract more customers and advertisers.”
News.com has a nice instructional video on Live Search and Virtual Earth 3D