Microsoft launch Virtual Earth

Microsoft have apparently launched their Google Maps killer – Virtual Earth – there is plenty of talk about it – some positive and some negative.

However, I can’t venture any opinion on Virtual Earth because I can’t access it! Despite trying for the last half-hour I only get a timeout on trying to see it.

If it can’t handle the traffic it is getting on a Sunday afternoon, then I really don’t see how they hope to beat Google with this on any other day of the week!

UPDATE:
The Virtual Earth team are saying on their own blog that

As a lot of folks noticed yesterday, http://virtualearth.msn.com was live for about 15 hours this weekend. We needed to do some testing of the site on the public net, so opening it up before the official launch this week was needed. We assumed that Saturday night and Sunday morning would be the best time to do the test without drawing too much attention… Virtual Earth will be live really soon

Personally I find that hard to believe – if Virtual Earth was taken offline (as opposed to collapsing under load) why wasn’t a holding page put up in its place?

The lack of one smacks of an unplanned outage.

6 thoughts on “Microsoft launch Virtual Earth”

  1. Tom Said: “Microsoft have apparently launched… ”

    No! actually, as I just posted back on our team blog, we certainly have NOT launched the Beta release of Virtual Earth. And no, this isn’t an unplanned outage of service, yestderday was more like an unplanned uppage for testing 🙂 The site will be online sometime tomorrow as planned for everyone to party on.

    til then,

    Steve Lombardi

  2. Steve,

    thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment – as I said over on Scoble’s blog though, I find it hard to believe that a company who purports to care about its customers would put up a beta site and then intentionally take it down leaving nothing but a timeout (i.e. no explanation) for unwitting customers who come subsequently.

  3. I used it for a short time yesterday. There is nowhere near the amount of map detail as google maps (for non-US city maps that is), and their aerial view has yet to work for me. Too little, too late IMO. I was pleasantly shocked and surprised that it works in non-MS browsers. There a few annoying bugs – the main one being that you can’t double click on an image that hasn’t loaded (which seems to happen a lot) and thus can’t zoom in on that area of the map using that method. Their zoom trick is also a bit lame (old school image resize, followed by a blank screen) as it should ideally preload the next set of images while you’re waiting, and not give you a blank screen.

  4. Hi Lee,

    I used it this morning and couldn’t find anywhere in Ireland on it – plus i couldn’t get it to work in Firefox on the Mac – also, the Google Maps search for a US address works far better than the MSN one as far as I can see – I’ll be posting on this in a sec!

    I am surprised that MS didn’t use AJAX for images – it would have worked far better than the image resize.

    Tom

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