Ever since the first time I saw Lt. Frank Bullitt thrash his Ford Shelby GT around San Francisco, I have longed for a chance to drive the streets of this city unhindered by traffic restrictions, pedestrians, and other such annoyances. Thanks to a Microsoft application, my dream has virtually come true. The Virtual Earth Local Technology Preview makes use of streetside-view photographs similar to those used by Google's Street View application.
With the Microsoft service you get the added bonus of navigating the maps in either a yellow race car or a blue sports car. Drivers get a view out of the front windshield and out of the two side windows as they use the computer arrow keys to cruise around. Currently, only the downtown areas of San Francisco and Seattle are drivable via the service, which is still in beta, but we figure that will be enough time-wasting entertainment to get you through to the end of the work day. Try out Virtual Earth for yourself.