Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Virtual Earth 3D beta: A new dimension for mapping and Live Search

What if mapping the world was more like a video game?

What if you could fly like Superman and figure out where to meet your friends for a good meal and which routes to avoid to beat traffic?

With Live Search maps you can find yellow pages and white pages information, get live traffic conditions and view stunning 3D and Birds Eye …just as if you were gaming in Second Life, but with real-world information embedded in real-world cities where advertising really matters?

Check out our beta for Virtual Earth™ 3D , a new online mapping feature launched this week by Live Search. You can see terrain information for all over the world, and explore these U.S. urban areas with textured buildings (with many more to come in the next month!): San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Detroit, Phoenix, Houston, Baltimore, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas and Fort Worth. There is a virtual tour that you can review before diving into the goodness.

While many folks will opt to use their keyboards, you can even use an Xbox controller to navigate the three-dimensional world for greater deftness and speed.

In addition, developers can use the Virtual Earth 3D application programming interface to build these search capabilities into their own applications and Web sites. This and other APIs for Live Search are open to developers, with the option to acquire additional support and other benefits through a service-level agreement with Microsoft. Developers can find more information about the Virtual Earth API at http://dev.live.com/virtualearth and in the Virtual Earth SDK http://dev.live.com/virtualearth/sdk/. Also, contact maplic@microsoft.com for details about additional support.

Some folks in the blogosphere noticed and we appreciate it: Liveside.net , TechCrunch, Brady Forrest , Robert Scoble, Search Engine Journal to name a few. Keep talking about it and also, let us know how to improve. As with any beta product we’d love to have feedback. You can let us know on the Virtual Earth blog at http://virtualearth.spaces.live.com/, where product updates are posted continually, or use the handy feedback link at the bottom of the application.

--The Spaceland team

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