May 23, 2005 1:49 PM PDT

MSN announces satellite-mapping service

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates previewed new satellite-mapping technology designed to compete with local-search offerings from Google, Yahoo and Amazon.com.

Gates, presenting at the "D" conference in Carlsbad, Calif., on Monday introduced MSN Virtual Earth, a map service that lets visitors zoom in on a local area and get information about restaurants, cafes, hotels, dry cleaners, and so on. Gates said the service will be available this summer.

MSN Virtual Earth will provide a "core set of reference points," such as maps, aerial imagery, photos, consumer and business directories, and ratings and reviews, according to the company.

Microsoft is playing defense against many new local-search and mapping tools from rivals. Google, for example, bought satellite mapping service Keyhole earlier this year and has introduced new interactive maps.

Amazon.com's A9.com is working on a nationwide project to take digital photos of all U.S. businesses for an online service called BlockView, which pairs photos to business information. Yahoo has also integrated Yahoo Maps and local search to create a data-rich source of regional services.

MSN Virtual Earth includes satellite maps with 45-degree views of buildings and neighborhoods, and an overlay of street images. It also includes an online clipboard, or scratch pad, so users can take notes while performing multiple searches.

The service will also include a Wiki-like feature that lets visitors and business owners add information about local services to the database.

3 comments

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Just call them....
...the Monkey See Network.

NWLB
****
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.nwlb.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.nwlb.net</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
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msn virtual map
hope it works a little better than keyhole. I live in a house on a corner lot. but when I put in my address it shows my house in the middle of the block
Posted by Dennis SR. (3 comments )
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When are satellite images updated?
I've tried it and it's really neet (great,cool,etc) except for one major issue.
I know my neiborhood is 4 years outdated !!
There have been alot of changes that aren't there! Can anyone tell me how often they plan to update? Zillow.com has their own real estate issues, but the images are more current!
Posted by Bugleman (1 comment )
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