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Virtual Earth 3D Beta Launched 188

Lord Satri writes "Microsoft has announced the launch of Virtual Earth 3D. There are numerous screenshots to be seen, as well as a Google Earth comparison from Spatially Adjusted. You can read the Google Earth Blog on why he thinks it's not a threat to Google. C|Net's coverage and the official press release provide lots of concrete details of the product. You can also read more from the development side or see the CBS report on Virtual Earth 3D. My main gripe: Windows and Internet Explorer 6/7 only. From the official press release: 'When people visit Live Search, type a query into the search box and click the "Maps" tab, they get their search results in a map context that offers the option to explore the area using two-dimensional views (aerial and bird's-eye) or three dimensional models with Virtual Earth 3D. This new technology compiles photographic images of cities and terrain to generate textured, photorealistic 3-D models with engineering level accuracy.'"
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Virtual Earth 3D Beta Launched

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  • by Da Fokka ( 94074 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:21PM (#16752533) Homepage

    Pretty detailed shots too, and in one you could even see me mowing the lawn in the backyard!

    p.And this doesn't even concern you a little bit?
  • Accuracy levels (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PhotoGuy ( 189467 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:33PM (#16752745) Homepage
    "Engineering level accuracy?" What kind of vague marketing speak crap is that? To the millimeter? To the cm? To the meter? (If I hired an engineer to do a building, I'd probably want accuracy to the inch. Does it do that?)

    Can someone please put this in terms of "Libraries of Congress" or "Volkswagens" so I have some sense of perspective??? Help!
  • Re:Windows only (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:48PM (#16753015)

    ... for the 20% non-Windows, non-IE users out there, sure.

    And for more than that. Half the time when I'm looking at something like this, I am doing so to send it to someone else or at least want the option of so doing. If there is a 20% failure rate every time I do that, well that is a significant problem, regardless of which browser I use.

  • by shdowhawk ( 940841 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:48PM (#16753027)
    There is a simple answer to your question...

    When playing monopoly, are you content on owning half of the board when playing against 4 others? What if you never owned 3 of any of the pieces on the board, so you were never able to built those crazy hotels... would you be content then?

    Microsoft IS in fact being threatened. As you yourself said, they are a software company. Google, is a software company. Microsoft made itself known by creating a fantastic piece of business software (hate to admit that.. bleh) called Office. This Program made everyone want their OWN software. You could now do your OWN taxes at home (assuming you knew how). You could write your own papers efficiently, or make a pretty slide show easily. People bought PERSONAL computers to do that. Google on the other hand took the complete opposite route on this. They represent the internet. The collective of information from EVERYONE. In a future where everything is being based on multi-tasking and the ability to do many things at once (cellphone / pda / mp3 players combo's anyone?) Google is leading the way. Need to learn something new? Google it. Want to download something new and exciting? Google it. Most importantly... who can use google? Everyone... which means less market share for microsoft.

    My point is this. Microsoft is the toy you got when you were 5. It taught you a lot of things, and you had fun with it. But eventually, something new and more exciting came out. Microsoft is doing what it can, even if it doesn't make too much profit on it (if any) ... to keep itself as a household name. To keep people buying Microsoft because they know the name AND it has a bunch of "features"... even if they aren't as good, or as useable by everyone else.

  • by PrayingWolf ( 818869 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:58PM (#16753211) Homepage Journal
    Every once in a while, Microsoft does something right ... or at least releases something cool.

    I think you meant to say: "Every once in a while Micro$oft copies someone else's idea and tries to get all the credit".
    This plagiarism seems to be the only form of R/D M$ does - and it makes me sick!
  • World wind (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plopez ( 54068 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @01:10PM (#16753381) Journal
    I like this one too. []

  • by Procyon101 ( 61366 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:40PM (#16755667) Journal
    But they are losing their cash cows to do it!

    They were the ONLY game in town in the desktop and laptop market. Now Apple has a huge chunk, and Linux desktop use is growing and becoming more competitive. They have been left behind by install and update technologies. They are now having to resort to strong-arm tactics to bill their casual-use users at every opportunity which is only pissing off their remaining customer base. This weekend I was asked by a medium sized business owner to "show him these Linux and Apple things" because he just had to spend tens of thousands of dollars because his network pulled down a patch from widows update and decided to shut itself down voluntarally... twice. Granted, he wasn't the most licensing concious guy around, but there is a customer that spends a very large amount of money on MS products that is likely to go elsewhere very soon.

    Microsoft could have EASILY maintained their lead, by focusing on their core business... Hell, they could have CREATED the "next big thing" as a side effect to good product innovation. As they are, they are rapidly becoming the defacto "me-too" second rate clone of every product out there... if they keep it up they will be regarded in the same category as cheap thai knockoffs.

    They have some good tech... why they don't run with it is so beyond me
    WinCE, NT core, SQL Server, Office, WPF, WinFS, IE... these are great technologies, but they are understaffed and horribly mismanaged and if MS doesn't get back on the ball, they will be lose them to competition and will have nothing... not because they missed the next best thing, but because they refused to compete in their own core markets.
  • by Kuciwalker ( 891651 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @05:40PM (#16757881)
    Google Earth wasn't developed at Google, either. They bought the company that developed it.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton