Blogging Microsoft Virtual Earth (aka “Live Local”) is not really part of the mandate of Ogle Earth as long as it remains a 2D mapping application, but some aspects of the version that went live last night have a bearing on Google Earth.
- First, the UK imagery: As Ed Parsons and other people have commented, it is superb, besting Google’s in those UK spots I’ve checked — if not in resolution, then in the quality and consistency of the post-processing. It will be interesting to compare future datasets if (okay, when) Microsoft releases its 3D virtual globe.
- The functionality of the scratchpad has improved dramatically. It took me no time at all to annotate a few places, even add an image, and share them publicly as a collection, like so. The scratchpad is nothing less than a geospatial version of Google’s Notebook, and it is so easy to use that my parents would have no trouble att all creating their own mashup and sending a link to friends.
Google has several options available to it as it responds in this competitive space. It could make Notebook geospatially aware, so that you can annotate both URLs and physical spaces in Maps and Earth; it could also leverage Google Base, making it easy for users to save or publish geospatial database objects such as annotated placemarks or georeferenced photo collections from within Maps and Earth (including private collections); or it could repurpose Google Pages, perhaps in combination with Google Base, providing templates that make a user’s collected geospatial content easy to browse by others.
I think this is going to be an interesting summer:-)