Windows Live Local

OK, at first glance I want to say that this
looks a bit hokey. You’re put in the driver’s seat of a race car driving around Seattle. Never mind Seattle’s oft nasty
traffic would pretty much leave you sitting in your race car idling, and that much of the city has not been recorded yet
for your idling pleasure. But then you delve a bit into the guts of this thing and you realize it has some rather
amazing potential.

I’m talking about a new technology unveiled by Microsoft and now in a
"preview" version up on the Web. The technology sort of like Google Earth and like Microsoft’s own mapping
project, but with some of A9’s Block View thrown
in, the mapping project called Window’s Live Local Virtual Earth, includes
not only a satellite view but also street-level photographs that you can click-navigate through.

At the
moment, it’s rather impractical. When you are driving, it’s hard to stay on the streets and the views become weirdly
dissonant. But with this and the 45-degree
aerial view
, Microsoft is definitely making a hard-core go at the whole mapping thing. And as I say, it’s till quite
incomplete with Seattle and San Francisco’s city centers being the only areas covered by the photos.