Microsoft sends news today that founder Bill Gates has announced a MSN Virtual Earth service is to debut in the summer. The service is promised to provide:
- Satellite images with 45-degree-angle views of buildings and neighborhoods
- Satellite images with street map overlays
- Ability to add local data layers, such as showing local businesses or restaurants
The service will allow users to choose from a number of different data types plus allow people to contribute their own information. The announcement came today at the D3 conference happening this week.
Here are some screenshots from the service to come. You can click on the first to make it larger:
Last week, Google announced that its Keyhole software allowing satellite views of the Earth will be renamed Google Earth. Better images will also be available to those getting satellite views via Google Maps. In addition, Google Maps has also been getting enhanced by others adding on data from other sources. More on this in is covered in our Google Factory Tour Recap post.
So, the planned Microsoft service will help MSN compete against some Google gains in this area, not to mention moves others like Yahoo have been making with maps. Some past reading you may find interesting on these topics:
- Google Maps Not In Google Search; Comparing Services & How Do They Do That?
- Satellite/Aerial Images Plus Local Info This post discusses TerraFly. This service has been available for more than five years and receives funding from IBM. Terrafly offers several of the services that MSN plans to provide including street overlays and local business info.
- Super Cool: Interact With Satellite and Aerial Images With NASA's World Wind Program Global in scope.
- offers links to interesting images that users have found.
- Just Map It!