Microsoft tries 3D maps, fails

Microsoft tries 3D maps, fails

Summary: A very cool (but for me, almost unusable) version of Virtual Earth was released today by Microsoft called "Virtual Earth 3D".  Instead of using a separate application to view 3D imagery, everything can be done in a browser through maps.

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TOPICS: Browser
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A very cool (but for me, almost unusable) version of Virtual Earth was released today by Microsoft called "Virtual Earth 3D".  Instead of using a separate application to view 3D imagery, everything can be done in a browser through maps.live.com.

Did I say "a" browser?  Yep, it only works in Internet Explorer with the help of a plugin -- bad move considering the huge number of people using browsers other than Internet Explorer.

Besides the Internet Explorer limitation, the performance of Virtual Earth 3D is incredibly bad on average computers.  Having a high-end gaming computer is the only way to truly enjoy what this product offers.  Here are the requirements to use Virtual Earth 3D according to Microsoft:

  • A computer that's running Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or Windows Internet Explorer 7
  • 250 MB or more of hard disk space
  • A 1.0 GHz processor (2.8 GHz or faster recommended)
  • 256 MB of system memory (1 GB recommended)
  • 32 MB video card (256 MB recommended) that supports Microsoft DirectX 9, with 3D hardware acceleration enabled
  • A high speed or broadband Internet connection

It's Google Earth's turn to blow our socks off with the same functionality.  When they do begin offering detailed 3D views of buildings, I am willing to bet my mid-range laptop will thank me for using Google.

Topic: Browser

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  • 3D maps from Microsoft

    I found this somwhat similar to Google, it had more clear images and there were some additonal features which look good.

    http://www.convert2cad.com/samples.htm
    brtodi
    • I think you got the wrong idea

      This is CAD software that you use to draw stuff. Google earth is software that has arial photographs from all over the world. They have some 3D buildings in some places. The link is quite different.
      quantumstate
      • Who has the wrong idea?

        VE is not CAD software -- it is a direct competitor to GE. They both have aerial photographs from all over the world. Both have limited 3D buildings, but VE's is much better.
        GHHalley
        • GG... re-read the thread before posting. it's not that hard.

          You're replying to the wrong person. Read the whole thread before inputting your 1/2 cents. You read "1" comment which was a reply to another and then jumped in on the thread. This is almost as bad as your other comment posted on this post.
          pacificdave
  • Microsoft Hater

    Give them some credit for God sake for their innovativeness. If Google had released the EXACT same thing your post would have been VERY VERY different.

    MS is changing as a company. Hate it all you want, in the end you have to love it!
    icantgetanid
    • Microsoft Rocks

      Hurry up and release Vista so it F's up everyones computer and I can make lots and lots of money fixing it!!! mwha-ha-hahahahahaha
      caazi
    • MS is better than Google in several ways!

      I was an early adapter of GE and I play with other similar programs that most people don't use. MicroSoft has definitely got something here. Their 3D buildings are SIGNIFICANTLY better than anyone elses, and there imagery in general is just as good as GE (though I prefer GlobeXplorer and others over both of them for vertical images).

      On my $1000 laptop with my home DSL account, the download times were slow, but the program was runs great.

      The interface control was much superior to Google's. I found in harder to change viewing angles and direction of views in Google from a touchpad. In VE its easy.

      I don't have an XBox, but if you can bring it into that (as reported), then this is totally awesome!!

      I like the fact that it is built into the browser. You have just as much control over the image space as you have in GE and you don't have to open up a new program to make it work. If your tabs are really getting in the way, why didn't you open up a new browser window -- are you that tech challenged dude?

      Even the fact that it doesn't work outside of IE is not a big deal. Google maps still doesn't work in my FireFox and when GE first came out it couldn't run on Apple or Linux. This is that first showing, of course its going to get better.

      ZDNet needs to look at hiring someone a little less biased to do their reviews. I come to this website for informed views, not bigoted views. Grow up.
      GHHalley
      • Did you view the cnet demo?

        The images are real is why they are so much better. The demo was done on an xbox by MS and given to cnet.
        It is very cool.
        April May
  • Awesome! (NT)

    .
    P. Douglas
  • So what you are saying...

    So what you are saying is that, as a "technology expert", your computer does not meet those minimal specs? You don't have a 1GHz machine? With 256MB of RAM? You didn't actually tell us how they "failed", other than to tell us your computer is outdated. What exactly failed for you?

    Wow, the anti-MS zealots will go to great lengths to avoid having to give credit to MS for anything. Pretty pathetic.

    From the video I saw of this, it looked pretty fluid. I think you are just grabbing at straws here. Face it, MS is doing something cool here and you just can't stand it. You are quite transparent in your absolute hate for MS.

    So no, Google didn't do this, MS did. Accept it. Deal with it. Move on. (And at least have enough of a spine to give them some credit when they deserve it).
    Qbt
    • No he is not saying that

      I cannot find anything that says he does not have a PC that fast. All he says is "but for me, almost unusable". Having above minimum specs could make it bad anyway. I have tried this with my PC (768mb RAM, 2.26 Ghz processor and graphics card to match) the program recommends that I put it on the most bast graphics option. It is not very nice on a better option.
      quantumstate
  • This is the classic part...

    "[i]...it only works in Internet Explorer with the help of a plugin ? bad move considering the huge number of people using browsers other than Internet Explorer.[/i]"

    IE outnumbers all other browsers [b]combined[/b]. Many [b]times over[/b]. So how was that a "bad move"?

    http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=3

    Methinks you are just upset because your little loser browser cannot run this cool app. Right? Yea, thought so...

    Are you [b]really[/b] that clueless, or just blinded by your zealotry?
    Qbt
    • You've got to be kidding me...

      "Methinks you are just upset because your little loser browser cannot run this cool app. Right? Yea, thought so..."

      You may be correct with your first statement but only for the time being but not for too much longer. It's going to take time to move non-tech savvy people away from their "default" browser. Your second statement bothers me though. Do you know what is entailed by running this "cool app?" ActiveX. Which no other browser but IE based browsers support by default. And there are major reasons for this. Your comment shows your ignorance in Firefox's purpose in the browser wars. Firefox represents standards compliance and having a choice. Opera can almost be put into the same category as Firefox. Your closing question shows that you're a troll. If you've read 'any' of Garett's past posts you'll notice that he's pretty informative in digging up many hidden product and feature launches. He's a Google fan... and there are many of us out there.

      Oh and finally answer me this. If it wasn't for Keyhole or now Google Earth do you really think MS would have put any R&D cash into developing Virtual Earth or even Virtual Earth 3D? Get with the program... the current program.
      pacificdave
      • But you fail to address...

        But you fail to address the main issue. This app is clearly superior to anything Google has (at least for right now). Yet the blogger just goes ahead and dismisses it outright as a failure. With no real rreason as to [b]why[/b] it failed.

        Then makes the brain-dead comment that it was a "bad move" because the number of non-IE users is "huge", but ignores the fact that IE has [b]four times[/b] as many users as all other browsers [b]combined[/b].

        The part that bugs me as that people that are clearly severely biased are even allowed to post drivel like this blog here on ZDNet. And I am supposed to agree with the brain-dead blog?
        Qbt
        • This superiority depends

          On the quality of the images. For my town in the NL, I just see some very low res quality pictures while Google recently added high res for this neighborhood.

          Directions seems to have problems understanding where my home address is and fails.

          And on top of that when installing i get the message Virtual Earth doesn't support your language (system is English) or region (which is set to the Netherlands).

          So I won't be able to comment on the wow factor 3D as I won't be able to install it. So your perceived superiority depends on location and need. I prefer driving directions over nice 3D views and prefer to decide myself which browser i'm going to use.
          tombalablomba
        • Re-read the thread

          Are you still commenting on Garett's blog entry or replying to my comment? I like most of Garett's posts but I never said I didn't agree with you on your first initial statement. I agree he could have been more thorough with this post and no one is saying you have to agree with it.

          Your method of commenting bothers me though. It's pretty obvious from my initial reply so I shouldn't have to explain myself.

          If you read more posts by other ZDNet writers you'll notice that the anti-Google writer is Donna Bogatin. ZDNet probably likes some of this writing mentality because it sparks more discussion than neutral posts.

          Oh and to add to this:

          "but ignores the fact that IE has four times as many users as all other browsers combined."

          We all know the real reason MS developed Virtual Earth 3D using ActiveX and IE....
          pacificdave
          • What is that real reason?

            Is it something shameful? Google has nothing to be shamed about so you'd be safe saying that is it.
            Your earlier logic about how virual earth came to be. That is just the lamest statement I've read. Do we need to go back and wonder if Google would have written GE if the browser had not been invented?
            Google is an ok company, Microsoft is fine. I'm not sure why you take exception to someone's tone and then lay $hit right back, dude.

            I'm thinking MS was working on a map program during web 1.0 btw. I'm going to dig for that now. Remember how this whole segment was getting hot then too? Before Google? Not quite the same level of tech of course. 90% of internet connection was still dialup.

            Answer me this. Would Google have come up with using AJAX if the technology had not already been invented by Microsoft in the late 1990s for Web Outlook? What do you think?
            April May
          • And your answers

            "Is it something shameful?"

            No. It invites competition. Which is better for consumers.

            "Do we need to go back and wonder if Google would have written GE if the browser had not been invented?"

            Google never wrote GE. Keyhole did. And it has nothing to do with any browser currently or in the past. So to answer that question no because your question is irrelevant.

            "Remember how this whole segment was getting hot then too? Before Google?"

            Nope, can't seem to recall it off the top of my head. I do know that there have been numerous research projects within the US Government that fall under "map program" in the mid/late 90's. When you find that info please share...

            "Would Google have come up with using AJAX if the technology had not already been invented by Microsoft in the late 1990s for Web Outlook? What do you think?"

            Who knows. But Google didn't "come up" with using AJAX. They're only pushing it's use because it's a common feature rich language that 'could' be compatible across all browsers without the installation of plug-ins.

            If you're trying to single me out as an anti-MS advocate then don't. I support both company's technology but not MS's business practices.
            pacificdave
          • You are joking, right?

            My comment on "is it shameful" was in response to you saying we all know why MS used ActiveX and IE. I'm not sure you are "with the program" as you stated to someone earlier, if you think Google has more honorable business practices than MS. In fact, taking someone else's technology, AJAX, then using it with your search monopoly. Hmmm who does this sound like? Sure they've not been convicted of monopoly but it's close enough.
            The China deal? You stand behind that business practice, which basically says we will do ANything for money. Even if it flies in teh face of our creed about not altering search results and aides a communist country to further suppress it's people.
            Here is what I was responding to with the AJAX comment anyway, your words:
            <br><i>
            Oh and finally answer me this. If it wasn't for Keyhole or now Google Earth do you really think MS would have put any R&D cash into developing Virtual Earth or even Virtual Earth 3D? Get with the program... the current program.
            </i><br><br>
            YOu think you can make excuses for Google on one hand and give this $hit to someone else on the other? bull$hit.

            I'm not singling you out as anit-MS. Maybe Anti-anyviewbutmyown.
            April May
      • Just a small point about Opera

        Opera is the browser [u]leading[/u] the way for standards compliance, not Firefox. Firefox sold out web standards when 2.x was released STILL not being able to render the Acid2 test correctly.

        Mozillas agenda is MS-hate, not web standards.
        Scrat