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Images: MSN, Google label Earth

MSN's new Virtual Earth lets people save satellite images of favorite locations--and Google responds within hours.

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Topic: Google
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Finding a location

To find a satellite image of a location on MSN's Virtual Earth, you type the name and location in the proper boxes. Then, you can zoom in to the location. MSN adds street names and names of popular locations.
Within hours of the launch of Virtual Earth's test site, Google responded by adding names to Google Maps (image 8).
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Locate me

MSN claims to answer the age-old question, "Where am I?" After you download the Locate Me software, you must click on the tab. The software tracks the location of your IP address to find you.

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Locate me zoom

In our test of the Locate Me feature, zooming in simply pointed to the name of our city--not a specific address in this new beta version.

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Scratch and surf

The mapping tool offers a scratch pad where you can save your searches. The tool will also locate businesses in the area. For example, you could search for nearby restaurants.

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Road maps

You can get a two-dimensional road map of the area by simply clicking on the link. This is the road map of the previous image of the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

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MSN vs. Google

MSN's Virtual Earth hopes to provide competition to Google Maps. Comparing the images of the two--first is Boston's Fenway Park on MSN's mapping site.

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Google vs. MSN

Here's what a Google satellite image of the same location looks like. Until...

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Google strikes back

Perhaps spurred by the release of MSN Virtual Earth, Google updated Google Maps to include the names of streets and popular locations. This is the same map as the one shown on the previous image, but with the updated features.

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Apple's where?

MSN's Virtual Earth satellite images appear to be older than the ones that Google uses. On the left is a Google image of Apple's Cupertino campus but it's just a pile of dirt on the Virtual Earth map (right).

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Google and MSN aren't the only players in satellite mapping technology. For locations in the U.S., TerraFly has for years offered maps with street names and other information overlayed on top of satellite imagery, according to a search expert.

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