Search Engines Battle For Planet Earth

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Last week it was Google showing off a high-density gigapixel version of Keyhole. Today at “D”, Bill Gates announced and previewed MSN Virtual Earth, using location “as the way in which people interact with the information on the web so that they can more easily find, explore and plan activities relevant to that location.” Gates says, “Local and mapping are coming together as one.” It sounds like he emphasized the practical rather than the virtual travel aspects offered up by Google’s Sergey Brin last week.
Asked about the difference between the two, John Battelle reports, Gates replied “somewhat defensively”: “We started the satellite thing ten years ago … If it touches on search, we’re going to do it, Google’s going to do it, Yahoo’s going to do it.
The new search tool, slated for launch this summer, includes a 45-degree angle of buildings and neighborhoods; interactive full-screen map views; street maos overlaid with satellite images and a virtual scratchpad for multiple searches and planning.
Jason Calacanis calls it a “Google Maps killer.” Tim O’Reilly’s notes.

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