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Virtual Earth 3D Beta Launched

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the really-great-globe dept.

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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Lost customer thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752413)

Who else here will not or can not access this since it is IE and Windows only?

Re:Lost customer thread (1)

dawhippersnapper (861941) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752635)

I installed the plugin for IE and it crashes my browser every time I visit their website. It's at local.live.com and virtualearth.com

Re:Lost customer thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752983)

Same here - what a piece of shit. Not even MS can write IE plugins that are stable!

like always for the NAZI os only (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752929)

like always for the NAZI os only, they cant stick that to they asses!

Re:Lost customer thread (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753849)

The fact that stuff like this comes out that requires Windows and IE is why I still run Windows and IE.

Not a threat, but VERY cool (2, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752431)

Every once in a while, Microsoft does something right ... or at least releases something cool. When I plugged in my address (which is kind of in the middle of nowhere), up popped 3 different viewing angles of my house. Pretty detailed shots too, and in one you could even see me mowing the lawn in the backyard! I had lots of fun with this one.

Re:Not a threat, but VERY cool (2, Insightful)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752533)

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?

Re:Not a threat, but VERY cool (5, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752649)

> p.And this doesn't even concern you a little bit?

I'm sure the picture shows him safely wearing his tin-foil hat, so, temporarily at least, the forces of evil can't access his plans for world domination...

Re:Not a threat, but VERY cool (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752555)

There was a news story about it last night (can't remember the source). Anyhow, on the studio's gazillion-inch plasma display, it looked pretty cool.

Makes me wonder... (1)

hullabalucination (886901) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752837)

...how often Google Maps/Earth updates their satellite photos. When I zoom in on my place, I can see the house next door that was demolished 3+ years ago. The sad part: I like that house better than mine.

* * * * *

What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad.
--Dave Barry

Re:Makes me wonder... (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753575)

Well that is not all, not so long ago I was planning a trip to Birmingham and while looking for the bullring [virtualbrum.co.uk] I was amazed to see that it had been destroyed [google.co.uk] ..

Fortunately for me, it seems the pictures at google were wrong, as when I arrived I could get into the place withour problems.

Is it just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753159)

Is it just me, or does anyone else thing Google Maps really sucks as an application?

I mean, the concept is really cool, but the interface really kills it as being in any way useful.

Also, the way it actually displays makes it too fickle to be useful. For example, one time I was trying to use it to create a map which would than be printed out. But I had to fight the map settings, and then the way it handles the sites and comments was too unpredictable. I got the map printed out in a way that was close to what I wanted, but it took far longer than I wanted it too, and IMO it looked like garbage.

Re:Is it just me... (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753265)

Also, the way it actually displays makes it too fickle to be useful. For example, one time I was trying to use it to create a map which would than be printed out. But I had to fight the map settings, and then the way it handles the sites and comments was too unpredictable. I got the map printed out in a way that was close to what I wanted, but it took far longer than I wanted it too, and IMO it looked like garbage.

And the reason you didn't just do a bunch of screen shots and stitch them together in some kind of paint-o-shop program is...?

Re:Is it just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753813)

Yes, it's just you.

Re:Not a threat, but VERY cool (2, Insightful)

PrayingWolf (818869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753211)

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!

WATCHOUT HARTSFIELD-ATL AIPRORT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753287)

Just did a quick check of some of the 3-D cities. No wonder flights get delayed in ATL. Check out the HUGE dips and drops in the runways at ATL!!! Looks like we are going to need ATV-Airplanes in order to make it through the ATL!!!

Re:Not a threat, but VERY cool (4, Informative)

omicronish (750174) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753323)

Every once in a while, Microsoft does something right ... or at least releases something cool. When I plugged in my address (which is kind of in the middle of nowhere), up popped 3 different viewing angles of my house. Pretty detailed shots too, and in one you could even see me mowing the lawn in the backyard! I had lots of fun with this one.

Actually, I think it is a threat. I use Live Local/Virtual Earth almost exclusively. Here's why (adapted from a post I wrote in a previous story that didn't get much attention):

  • Live Local has better controls. It was the first to add mouse wheel scroll zooming, which Google Maps has added. (I don't mind the copying, though; the more the merrier!) I can't live without the middle-click, box zooming, though. From a globe view I can zoom to my house in a few seconds with Live Local's box zooming.
  • Directions between arbitrary points: Right-click anywhere to select the From and To points to find directions. Google Maps requires that I type in addresses. Problem is that I don't know the address of Paradise point at Mt. Rainier National Park [live.com] , and Google Maps can't seem to find it. Note that Yahoo Maps expands upon this by letting you add waypoints, but it's too slow for me.
  • Bird's Eye view [birdseyetourist.com] . Images are taken from an airplane, so detail is awesome.
  • I can perform up to 3 simultaneous map searches. This means I can see the locations of all Safeways, libraries, and CompUSAs on the same map [live.com] . Useful if you intend on going to multiple places when driving.
  • Live Local's direction finding seems more capable than Google's. I can find directions from Glasgow, UK to Palermo, Italy [live.com] .
  • Live Local has better sharing features. You can create collections of places and share them on Live Local. This might be a silly example, but some friends visited Seattle recently and wanted suggestions on places to visit. I made a collection of places for them [live.com] . You can add text, images, and URLs to places on a collection, and viewers of a collection can generate driving directions between any of its places (as well as any other arbitrary point). Google has auto-saving of locations (which was added after Live Local's collections), but as far as I can tell, it does not permit sharing or customization of locations.
  • UI is more customizable. Live Local's panels are removable, yielding more visible map area than Google Maps. You can't turn off the "example searches" pane in Google.

Of course it has downsides:

  • Performance is worse than Google Maps. On my 1.7 GHz 512 MB RAM laptop, Live Local causes the fan to spin up far more often than Google Maps.
  • Color scheme is uglier in some places (compare Tokyo road view in both Google and Live).
  • Google Maps' satellite view is considerably more detailed and updated in some places, including Shanghai, Pyongyang, Ho Chi Minh City. MS appears to be countering this with Bird's Eye view, but the two are just not the same.
  • I'm not sure all its features are supported in Firefox 1.5 and below; can someone confirm? But it does work in Firefox 2.0.

If you're interested in looking at satellite imagery, Google is the better choice. But if you want to find places and get directions to them, and share those places with people, I believe Live is far better.

Re:Not a threat, but VERY cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753379)

Agreed. I actually like the fact the Google earth doesn't run in my web browser but first MS releases IE 7 Now this. I have to give them props for two good free products in a row. (Not that I'm giving up firefox any time soon)

Re:Not a threat, but VERY cool (2, Informative)

Instine (963303) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753763)

This is NOT very cool.
Its google earth (which was cool, until everyone realized its no more use than google maps). On a web page. BUT as you have to download a whole heap of crap, that makes it no better than an activeX wrapper, for the Google earth API.
But what really f'ed me off is that it changed my home page to windows live!!!! Grrrr.

Windows only (4, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752453)


I tried to test this but it is for IE explorer only. So Google wins by default.

Re:Windows only (0, Troll)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752715)

> I tried to test this but it is for IE explorer only. So Google wins by default.

Insightful? That's probably why the write up at the top of the page says:
"My main gripe: Windows and Internet Explorer 6/7 only."

Why does Google know that allows them to not be tied to a given OS or browser? Or does Microsoft perceive this as some sort of killer app which Linux users and people who generally only like browser which aren't inherently unsafe won't be able to resist? I suppose there's a small market for people who want to be able to see, in 3d, precisely where on the planet their pc is being owned from...

Re:Windows only (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752913)

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

Re:Windows only (3, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Windows only (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753131)

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

That happens to include a lot of the tech elite...

Re:Windows only (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753577)

That number is also growing, not declining.

Finkployd

Re:Windows only (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753845)

Also is requires an ActiveX control that itself requires admin privileges to install.

Re:Windows only (0, Troll)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753035)

I tried to test this but it is for IE explorer only. So Google wins by default.

but not among the 80-90% of users for whom IE remains the default browser.

Re:Windows only (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753163)

Wow, that's so 2005, IE now has under 75% market share and falling. MSIE market share is even lower in Europe.

Re:Windows only (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753261)

80-90% of those users won't know or even care about this application as the search criteria and counterintuitive UI is difficult to use.

If MySpace uses it then it's a go.

Linux Support? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752455)

I run Google Earth under Linux. Will this new offering provide an alternative? (Let me guess - NO WAY!)

Re:Linux Support? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752713)

Hehe, well, according to some reports here and elsewhere, it barely even runs on IE. ;-)

Re: Mac Support? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752741)

I suspect unless I boot into WinXP I won't have this on OS X native either?

Re:Linux Support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752761)

Only if you use Novell's SUSE Linux...

Me me me! (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752467)

I want to try it, can someone post the direct link for the Linux client?

Or the torrent!

Self (1)

Cybert4 (994278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752515)

SELF. Nothing else matters. Period.

Please explain why Microsoft is threatened? (4, Interesting)

green pizza (159161) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752519)

Why does Microsoft feel theatened by certain markets? I don't understand why they feel they have to compete with everything, even "markets" where there is little or no money to be made. How much money could Microsoft ever make from Virtual Earth? Why does Microsoft feel it has to compete in the games and music world when it is already making huge amounts of money selling software to 90 - 95% of the computer world?

Re:Please explain why Microsoft is threatened? (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752709)

Bill Gates (and by extension I suspect much of Microsoft) is very worred about missing the "next big thing" and being left in the dust. The history is that IBM gravely under estimated the PC revolution and handed it over to Microsoft, so Microsoft doesn't want to get shafted like they did to IBM. I agree this particular application doesn't seem very important, but Microsoft may be concerned in general about losing ground as an applications service provider. Apparently this new thing is based on ActiveX so personally I hope it is an utter failure.

Well said. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753095)

The history is that IBM gravely under estimated the PC revolution and handed it over to Microsoft, so Microsoft doesn't want to get shafted like they did to IBM.

I think this is the best one-sentence summary of the thought process that seems to underlie Microsoft's business, consciously or not, all the time.

They're like the king who came to power by poisoning his predecessor, forever worrying whether they'll fall the same way.

Re:Well said, but wrong. (3, Interesting)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753267)

IBM didn't get shafted, and MS didn't poison the King to become King. IBM did make a grave business error of not recognizing the direction of the market and collapsed. MS correctly predicted the future, and did well. MS doesn't want to make the same mistake IBM did, so it competes everywhere.

Re:Please explain why Microsoft is threatened? (2, Insightful)

shdowhawk (940841) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Please explain why Microsoft is threatened? (1)

Lacrymator (842893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753103)

TA mentioned Google (Google Earth) as the "threatened" app. Microsoft doesn't "feel" anything, especially not threatened. In hopes of enlightening you as to why the conquest-like mentality the corporation seems to take, well, that's MS. I get agitated from time to time with their products, yep but why is everyone so ready to get the torches and pitchforks?? I, for one, am not. Perhaps if Microsoft festers/ferments just a little more..... Nah, light the torches!

Re:Please explain why Microsoft is threatened? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753189)

Why does Microsoft feel theatened by certain markets? I don't understand why they feel they have to compete with everything, even "markets" where there is little or no money to be made. How much money could Microsoft ever make from Virtual Earth? Why does Microsoft feel it has to compete in the games and music world when it is already making huge amounts of money selling software to 90 - 95% of the computer world?

I don't know... why did Google feel the need to compete with AltaVista? Why did they start doing targeted ads when other companies already were? Why is Google making word processing, or paint software? More choices in the market is always a good thing. And information about where in the physical world things are, how to get to them, what they look like, and what's next door to them... there's a much bigger market for that out there than is going to be well handled by only one company (Google).

Re:Please explain why Microsoft is threatened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753245)

Yeah, god forbid that a company with large resources doesn't just sit in their own little niche and learn to like it... just like General Electric, err... Coca Cola! errr no, that's not right.... IBM... no, that doesn't work out well... hmm...

Once again the jealousy of MS having "huge amounts of money" has reared it's ugly head yet again.

It's time to get over it.

Please explain why Google is threatened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753919)

Why does Google feel theatened by certain markets? I don't understand why they feel they have to compete with everything, even "markets" where there is little or no money to be made. How much money could Google ever make from Google Office? Why does Google feel it has to compete in the games and music world when it is already making huge amounts of money selling software to 90 - 95% of the computer world?

It's just like their search engine. Did we really need another Yahoo?

Navigation (4, Interesting)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752531)

After playing around with this this morning I can't quite get the hang of the grab and drag navigation. In photo mode (or bird's eye view I guess) it appears to limit the grab and drag range to the actual photo loaded into the frame, and the only way to move outside that is to load another photo by clicking in some kind of grid containing too-small-for-clarity thumbnails.

Maybe I'm wrong and didn't spend enough time with it, but that is a huge handicap, better photos or not. With Google Earth I can grab and drag to wherever. Half of what I want to find isn't tied to an address, it is much easier to find by following landmarks.

Re:Navigation (1)

wan-fu (746576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753459)

The new thing isn't the bird's eye view, but the 3D view. The bird's eye view has been around for quite some time and has always had this limitation. This is because the ability to stitch the photographs taken from the airplane seamlessly together still isn't there yet. The airplane is not shooting exactly perpendicular to the surface of the earth. Imagine a bunch of roof shingles which are the photos and now try making it seamless.

The new 3D thing is different from this and is more similar to Google Earth.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753747)

Half the comments on this subject are all talking about the other local.live.com features which aren't the focus of this topic. This announcement is specifically about the 3D plugin as the parent says. Mod parent up and mod all those others off topic for not even comprehending the summary.

fuck a T43o (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752545)

Lay down paper\ join in. It can be Not going to play exploited that. A CHANNEL, YOU MIGHT Are She had taken corporate bottoms bUtt. Wipe give other people the resources that

Reminds me of... (1)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752569)

Canoma [canoma.com] from the long-defunct Metacreations. You load up a picture, place some 3d primitives, and line the primitives up so that they match what's in the picture. It was pretty easy to do, and produced decent results- if you only viewed the sides of the object that were actually photographed. Kudos to the MS programmers for coming up with a quick, "cheap" way to add textures to buildings.

Re:Reminds me of... (2, Interesting)

saltydogdesign (811417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753613)

It's called photogrammetry, and Microsoft did not come up with it, though they will no doubt be filing all sorts of horseshit patents pretty soon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photogrammetry [wikipedia.org]

Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752605)

wants to rule the world

moD up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752661)

Some parts cool, others not (3, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752677)

I see Virtual Earth as an application that excels in a select few areas, but in general has much less to offer.

For example, it has nifty texture mapped buildings for a number of places, but what about the majority? Conversely, Google Earth covers a large part of Earth in quite good detail, but Virtual Earth not even my capital city. Additionally, GE has a large community behind it now, and the layer features provides an extensibility that could be compared to the extensions in Firefox.

Re:Some parts cool, others not (2, Interesting)

bmwm3nut (556681) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753113)

I forgot about the layering that the GE community can provide. Want to bet how long it will be until someone makes a layer in GE that reads the virtual earth data and redisplays it? I'm not sure how the layers in GE work, but I bet someone just needs to have a server the GE queries and then an automated ActiveX control that will grab the virtual earth data and send it back to GE.

Quick synopsis...it sucks. (0, Redundant)

PrimeNumber (136578) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752687)

The hello world link didn't even function properly when I tried running it, and that is on the supported platform: IE 6 running on Windows XP.
 
It also looks like it uses an Active X control which, needless to say -- this isn't a real web app at all. Google could have embedded Earth into an Active X control and made a 'web app' better than this with existing code, and supported more than the Microsoft version which only has 15 U.S. cities.
 
I am not even going to bother trying it on a real OS/browser after I leave work.

Re:Quick synopsis...it sucks. (0)

linebackn (131821) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753727)

I wish I had mod points for you right now because I am sick of people throwing other applications (this IS a Win32 application) via ActiveX or a plug-in and then thinking it is somehow better because it is "inside" the browser, which it really isn't.

I really kind of thought people got over this fad back in the 1900s but since Microsoft's web browser is so pitiful and they like to blindly pretend that %100.0000 of the world uses Windows and IE, of course that is how they are going to dish it up.

A web browser is an application program that retrieves hyperlinked documents from a network and renders them. Trying to make it something that it is not is stupid and usually turns out badly.

Oh great! (1)

jeddak (12628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752729)

...another tool to help the terrorists!

Opposite (4, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753043)

...another tool to help the terrorists!

Actually it's just the opposite - they'll spend a few years going through Active X installations and the configuration screens and it will keep them out of our hair.

Re:Opposite (2, Informative)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753539)

Or Osama will release an audio tape stating he loves this new product and even was able to find an image of himself mowing his lawn. Government agencies around the world will spend a few years going through Active X installations and configuration screens before they even start their "Where's Waldo" hunt giving bin Laden plenty of time to plan his next attack.

Re:Oh great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753503)

If they want to blow something up then they will try anyway with or without the extra tools.

Re:Oh great! (1)

jeddak (12628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753863)

That was meant to be facetious. Oh well.

I can't get it to work (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752739)

tried it on an 32 bit XP system (SP2), under IE6, I downloaded and installed the App/ActiveX control and set local.live.com to be a Trusted Site... and still IT NO GO

Accuracy levels (2, Insightful)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752745)

"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:Accuracy levels (1)

kegon (766647) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753045)

> If I hired an engineer to do a building, I'd probably want accuracy to the inch.
The nearest inch ?

Where are you, Liberia [wikipedia.org] ?
Inches are so 1790s (I read my own link you know).

Seriously though, one inch is nowhere near the accuracy you need to "do a building" as you quaintly put it.

Sorry, I'm too lazy to think of a humourous response to the sense of perspective thing.

Re:Accuracy levels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753225)

"Engineering level accuracy" means if it doesn't fit you hit it with a hammer until it does. Or it breaks. Either way you feel better.

You lucky ones... (2, Informative)

robcfg (1005359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752775)

After going through a huge number of windows it turns on that it cannot be installed in a spanish XP. So we'll have to wait (as usual) to try it. I hate this things... :(

Linux Version. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752853)

From the amount of groaning for a Linux version, whats stopping the development of a plugin-interface that is the same across browsers? Publish an RFC or get ECMA certification then get everyone to use it to the point that only Microsoft is not. Then make Microsoft use it. Replace ActiveX, Java, and Media Player proprietary interfaces with a standard plugin-interface that works for everything - leveling the playfield. Make the render engine a plugin too.
Rehashing some ideas that are floating around out there but still, why can't it be done?

Re:Linux Version. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753007)

Well, it could but by their very nature many plugins hook significantly into browser internals. It would be a lot of work to implement a transparent "translation layer" and even then you can bet it wouldn't behave exactly the same (and in some cases break) on different platforms.

Most significantly, what's in it for Microsoft that they should give away their valuable ActiveX vendor lock-in market? Nothing, so they'll never do it.

Re:Linux Version. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753873)

You could do it if all browsers were designed to provide a BIOS api like PC's. Plugin's could request an area of the page to render to and be informed of input events within the area as well. The implementation of areas could allow for cross-plugin functionality as well - the svg plugin and the truetype plugin can be used within the flash plugin as the flash plugin requests their output and gets the browser BIOS to do the low level work of combining the output bitmaps into the controlling plugins graphic area; combining is encapsulated behind the BIOS api so the plugins can be high-level and therefore cross-platform. What I'm thinking is that the "BIOS" of a browser contain an api much like SDL - a lowest common denominator virtual graphics area. And you can do a lot with SDL. So provide all the SDL primitives as "BrowserBIOS 1.0". Other plugins could then register themselves as primitives like an SVG plugin. Then another plugin such as a flash player could see if the SVG plugin was installed and if so use it's renderSVG method as just another primitive within the flash area.
In five years computers should be capable enough to program Microsoft Earth in a scripting language and with the response times of today. A platform neutral language that is interpreted not executed (as ActiveX controls are) would be more desirable as binary execution across architectures would obviously fail. Computers keep getting faster so we can keep going higher and higher in the languages without becoming unresponsive. The only reason to use executable binaries is for speed purposes and if absolutely neccesary "fat" binaries like the OS9/X transition on the Mac could be used.

No competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752863)

... well at least not yet.

Minneapolis has all of two buildings in 3d. The interface is a little bit clunky and for some reason they feel the need to put in floating ads for Nissan.

Doesn't Work with Firefox (0, Redundant)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752865)

It only works with IE 6 or 7.

Re:Doesn't Work with Firefox (1)

deesine (722173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753861)

One less app, err a website I wont be using.

FUCK YOU (1)

Viriatus (886319) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752869)

"Virtual 3D (Beta) currently does not support your region or language. Thanks for your patience"

FUCK YOU MICROSOFT

Re:FUCK YOU (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753579)

Virtual 3D (Beta) currently does not support your region or language. Thanks for your patience

      Our server has detected that you IP is also associated with someone on the US terrorist "No Fly" list, and as such you are prohibited from reviewing aerial photography. We have also detected an unauthorized browser. We have also detected that you are not wearing pants. All this, combined with the fact that you live in a country where they speak a foreign language, means that you are not worthy to view this site. The authorities have been notified. Thank you for your patience.

Either... (1)

eingram (633624) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752919)

It seems to be working fine in FX 1.5. So either: 1) I'm on the wrong site or 2) It's only partially working in FX 1.5.

http://local.live.com/ [live.com] yes?

Re:Either... (1)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753193)

It will allow you the 2D maps but the 3D features are a fully installed local program which IE calls.

That's great (1)

LuciferosX (987569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752953)

This sounds awfully familiar. Almost as if I've heard of it before...

Save yourself some time. (2, Funny)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752963)

Just get the original blueprints from the Magratheans.

Seems to be clunky (1)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752995)

It is not very responsive or quick to load compared to same environment with Google maps.

Great idea! (2, Funny)

bcmm (768152) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753083)

This new technology compiles photographic images of cities and terrain to generate textured, photorealistic 3-D models with engineering level accuracy.
I've been waiting AGES for something like this! Thank you Microsoft, for leading the way with new and innovative technology, yet again.

why? (3, Funny)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753109)

so they're copying google 100% except that their version won't work on my mac.

oh my god, it hurts to think of all the wasted energy in reproducing something badly.

Hangs your Browser (1)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753125)

IE 6 hangs with the plug-in on exit. Can't really see the "3D" features compared to Google earth buildings.

Canada, eh? (3, Informative)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753149)

Just gave it a try. IE only, active X install (versus AJAX that google uses; wait, didn't MS start all the XMLHTTP stuff themselves?), which were annoying, but in the end, the quality of the satellite views for Nova Scotia (where I live) are an order of magnitude poorer than Google Earth.

So, IE Only, Poor Canada support. I'll pass for now.

Confusing just as any other Microsoft product (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753195)

I like to give them a chance but this will be used as a toy then discarded. local.live.com and it's horrible 2 condition search criteria makes it unusable.

Wow. Microsoft is following google what's next? (1)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753217)

Microsoft following Apple?

Wow...Not really (1)

York the Mysterious (556824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753223)

I'm really impressed by 6 year old blurry black and white photos where Google gives me fairly recent photos at about 3X the resolution in color. I live in the cuts, but it's not that bad. Arcata, CA

google wins on detail in Berlin (1)

localoptimum (993261) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753375)

Compare microsoft's map [www.hmi.de] with that of google [www.hmi.de] , centred on the Brandenburg gate, and you see that Microsoft are lagging slightly behind google in resolution. As I remember, the google launch had full resolution on Berlin from the start.

Impressive stuff! (1)

levy (58001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753391)

For a long time I have tried to tell Microsoft that I don't want to be a norwegian when I have to visit some of their pages. I like my system in English - but! "Virtual Earth 3D (Beta) currently does not support your region or language. Thanks for your patience. Regarding patience.. I was able to touch 9Kb/s download rate while trying to install/download the component needed for 3D. Microsoft downloads just takes sooo much time. Net-Installing Debian from a US server is done with 1,5Mbyte per second, haha!

By the way, I think I found a hidden feature! If you zoom in too close this fantastic service delivers a very cool image of a grey page filled with "camera forbidden" signs.

Advertising Embedded in the Application (1)

aykroyd (82171) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753407)

Wow. I was looking around Los Angeles, wanting to see what Santa Monica looked like when I came across this ad [live.com] blatantly hanging in the air. Incredible. That's reason alone to stick with Google Earth.

Has more detail than Google Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753453)

On Google Earth I cannot zoom very far into "BN1 5FG, uk" but on Virtual Earth I can see that damn blue tarp that is still stuck on the utility room roof of my folk's house.

While having that level of detail is nice, I'm more interested in using it for directions.

Not W2k compatable (1)

UberHoser (868520) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753521)

Oh well. Guess I can't use it. Way to yet again screw people into buying XP or vista. /golfclap

NOT IE only (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753557)

I'm using firefox 2.0 here, it works just fine.

3D view IS IE only. (1)

mdobossy (674488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753887)

Try clicking on the 3D view. The 3D view requires IE 6/7.

No worry google (1)

crodrigu1 (819002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753659)

Installed the tool, and except for downtown Boston, I can not see where I was in the map, street names shows for a second the nothing, and see where you are from looking at a building is hard. So I do not see something too fancy (try NASA)

Playing catch-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753775)

Is it me or are there a lot of articles recently on MS playing catch-up to already existing technology of late (Zune/iPod, Google Maps, etc)?

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (0, Offtopic)

bazorg (911295) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753831)

Gasp!

Doesn't work. Needs active-x but AX is enabled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16753847)

Doesn't work. Needs active-x but AX is enabled for live.com. It must be using a site other than live.com for this, address bar URL framed out.

Flight Simulator integration (2, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16753941)

Why hasn't this been integrated into Microsoft's Flight Sim yet? You don't need to install 15GB worth of data, and the maps are always updated. Better graphics too I might add.
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