Canadian Reviews

Windows Live Local Review


I use google maps all the time for driving directions and such.

before Google maps came around I used to use mappoint.msn.com but Google maps was FAR better.

Then Microsoft updated there mapping to be more "google" like and simplistic. It was good and almost as good as googles, but I still preferred googles maps.

Well thats changed now! I think last week sometime Microsoft released the new version of Windows Live Local or Windows Live Maps is what I like to call it.

http://local.live.com/ or http://maps.msn.com/
VS
http://maps.google.com/

In my opinion the new Windows Local Maps are better than Google’s now. Cast aside and feelings you might have towards either company and just compare the products as they are.

Here are a bunch of new Windows Live Maps features, Most of which Google Live does not even have.

 - After first use Live seems to remember my home city at starts there when i load a new page, and 99% of the time that’s perfect.

- Overall appearance is nicer, simply graphics, nice transparencies and customizable

- you can zoom in and out of the map with your mouse scroll wheel!

- The layout of driving steps is nicer, you can step through them one by one on the map.

- The maps themselves have a different look and seem to appear more detailed. They look much nicer when zoomed out as well.

- Way better and more printing options

- connected to your Passport or Live login, you can save lots of stuff to a scratchpad. You can add pins to map locations and it will remember them.

- More sharing options, send map via email, link, blog, msn messenger

- TRAFFIC, not working in Canada yet, well Vancouver anyway. But this is a new thing and will take some time to setup the networks for data collection, but once there is, will be super useful and cool. Get almost real-time traffic readings.

- The satellite imagery on Live is much nicer looking from far up, they use different imagery, its more colourful. Unfortunately there is a huge downfall here for Windows Live maps currently. They don't have as much detailed satellite imagery as Google does. Certainly for the Vancouver area, you can't zoom in right to street level.

There is also no Hybrid mode, which google does have. I'm sure its on its way. But both those disadvantages are minimal, to me anyway. Who really looks at the satellite imagery on the websites other than a quick novelty.
If you really want to look at satellite imagery its much better to use a program like Google Earth and others.

Another reason why Windows Live or VirtualEarth is better than Google. There SDK is kick ass. I needed to embed a map into a webpage, Microsoft has a great interactive developers page.
http://dev.live.com/virtualearth/sdk/ can see all the code and explanations of the code.

Still better than both for getting advanced directions and more for planning road trips is Microsoft Streets & Trips Program.

My only complaint is they should have made the name "Windows Live Maps" not "Windows Live Local". Sure the "local" thing is a big aspect, searching for things in the local area. But I think its a bit confusing for the mass market. Whats microsofts map site called again?

Click here to discuss this in the forums

  

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Added: May 26th 2006
Reviewer Canadaka
Related Link: local.live.com
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  1. Posted by Hyack
    2007-08-05 01:57:00
    my score:
    I''ve used it for local addresses, and find it''s great!
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