Sunday, March 05, 2006

Virtual Earth Streetlevel

I'm a big fan of Google Earth and, to a lesser extent, Google Maps. I regularly use the services to give me directions and learn about foreign places.

Microsoft's Virtual Earth (now Windows Live Local) has always been an also-ran in my books though in typical MS fashion they've perservered and worked hard to make it a very competitive product. I've no doubt that it will continue to get better.

So I wasn't totally surprised to see Chandu Thota, a key developer in the Virtual Earth team, announce a new technology preview this morning. The team have extended the regular Virtual Earth interface to deliver street level images. It was only a matter of time I suppose, but this technology is very exciting and Microsoft should be pretty happy with themselves - there's gotta be an awful lot of data they're managing there! While the interface is still a little kludgey (and IMO would fit much better in a client-side Google Earth style application) it has the potential to be elegant enough to be useful.

I have been saying for a long time now that GIS-enabled software will spurn a bunch of new software applications and I believe more good stuff is yet to come. :)

Anyways, go check it out:

Windows Live Local Virtual Earth Technology Preview

Scoble also blogged about it (and there's a video on Channel 9).

[Update: The excellent Google Earth Blog made the point that you can achieve a similar effect in Google Earth.]

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I used to subscribe to the Age's RSS feeds to get my dose of Aussie news. I generally like the Age, their reporting is usually even handed and reasonably fair. But I agree with Will that the ABC feeds are much better.

For a start they've got summaries. With the Age feeds you only get headlines - and they're typically quite vague. The ABC gives headlines and a short one-line summary of what the article is about. It's not full text (which would be ideal!) but it's pretty good. And the quality of the ABC articles, while a bit drier than the Age, is also high.

So bye-bye Age, hello ABC. :)