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Windows’ Live’s Virtual Earth 3D Beta

MSN Live Search is testing its 3D map facility called Virtual Earth 3D. Obviously a spin off of Google’s 3D mapping service, Google Earth. From the Microsoft Press Pass:

Microsoft® Live Search Maps will today begin offering three-dimensional, photo-realistic views of New York City buildings and landscapes, with perspectives that few people apart from Superman have ever seen. The free online service will provide a unique look at many of New York’s iconic locations, along with local listings, ratings and reviews and driving directions to help people easily find, discover, plan and share relevant location information that is important to them on the Web.

Ok, enough said. Now for the meaty part. Live Search’s Virtual Earth 3D aside from offering 3 dimensional representation of various U.S. locations will also provide the following information about a specific location:

  • landmark locations,
  • business listings,
  • maps and driving directions,
  • custom collections,

Initially, only New York city’s 3D representation is available but other locations will also be included in the coming days.

My initial impression? The Virtual Earth 3D is kinda hard to use. It may take some time before users get the hang of manipulating the virtual earth to get a closer look of a city they want. And yes, Google Earth is a lot easier to use even for first time users.

I’d probably give it a few more tries in the coming days before I get back to using Google Earth.

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Windows’ Live’s Virtual Earth 3D Beta

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