Gates is speaking now and showing stuff that looks an awful lot like Google Satellite/Earth. In fact, most of his talk was search related. He’s integrated some very detailed views into his demo, down to much more resolution than Keyhole currently shows. “Local and mapping are coming together as one,” he says.
The difference between Google and MSFT’s satellite stuff? “We started the satellite thing ten years ago,” he said, somewhat defensively. “If it touches on search, we’re going to do it, Google’s going to do it, Yahoo’s going to do it.”
Gates also showed a search/homepage personalization tool that looks a lot like the recent stuff from Google (which looks a lot like the old stuff from Yahoo). I won’t go into details, but will udpate with links if there is coverage….
Update: They actually announced “MSN Virtual Earth” at the conference. Details in extended entry. Link when it goes up. The image at left is from their “45 degree” angle. Pretty cool.
Today at “D” Conference in Carlsbad, CA, Microsoft founder Bill Gates presented his vision of MSN Virtual Earth, an exciting new component of Microsoft’s Search vision that gives consumers a deeply immersive search experience where they see what it’s like to be in a location and explore what they can do there.
MSN Virtual Earth uses location as the way in which people interact with the information on the web so that they can more easily find, explore and plan activities relevant to that location.
· For example: Say you are buying a house and want to look at the traffic and weather patterns around that house for the past year. In addition, you want to find nearby dry cleaners and restaurants. MSN Virtual Earth would let you view that information on one map, layering each piece of information you request and giving links and more details about those items.
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. In addition, MSN Virtual Earth will allow the broader community of consumers and businesses to contribute their own location-specific information to create an always expanding, dynamic and relevant local search experience.
We did not share the entire feature set for MSN Virtual Earth today but some of the key capabilities that we showed include:
· Imagery – satellite maps and a unique 45-degree-angle view of buildings and neighborhoods
· Hybrid Maps — street maps overlaid over satellite maps
· Full-bleed Map Views – a nearly full screen map that users interact with
· Scratch Pad – a online clipboard for customers to perform multiple searches and plan their activities
The first release of MSN Virtual Earth is expected to be available sometime this summer. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like a screenshot of MSN Virtual Earth.