Two interesting things have been confirmed in the blog post Next Version of Virtual Earth is indeed around the corner. The first is that MSN Virtual Earth is getting renamed to Windows Live Local. The second is that the version I've been using internally that has better driving directions and birds eye view imagery will be shipping shortly. The post states

We've been working to address a lot of feature requests from our users, and personally I'm really happy with how the application has shaped up. Here is a blurb in The Kelsey Group's Local Media Blog about the forthcoming release. Greg Sterling correctly reports that Virtual Earth has become part of the Windows Live Family and will be known as Windows Live Local (WLL). WLL was first shown at the press launch event for Windows Live last month. Greg's comments are based on a presentation MSN Local Search General Manager Erik Jorgensen gave at Kelsey's ILM Conference last week. As part of Erik's presentation he demoed the release build of Windows Live Local. Keep your eyes open - you should be able to start enjoying features like Birds Eye imagery and User pushpins in just a few days.




The screenshots show the bird's eye imagery and as you can see, it is quite sweet. I can't wait for this to ship.


 

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 10:08:20 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare,

do you know if its going to have data for places outside the us. like europe, for example ?

WM_QUERY
thomas woelfer
Wednesday, December 7, 2005 11:39:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Wow! Where are those images coming from??

It's pretty rare when Microsoft is able to out-deliver Google. This might be one of those situations. It still feel, however that Virtual Earth's UI is much clumsier than Google Maps. Hopefull that's being addressed. The data looks fantastic, tho.
pwb
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