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Microsoft is at it again. Trying to keep up with Google, they just launched their own map website, Visual Earth, to compete with Google Maps. It is interesting to see how Google defines the direction the web will be going and it will be neat to see how the competition between the two creates new features.

Upon inspection of the two websites, I find that Google’s is still easier and cleaner to use. On my computer, the maps are rendered more quickly and the click-and-drag scrolling is much smoother. Microsoft’s maps do allow zooming using the scroll button which is cool but, while I would like to use this feature, it is too slow and choppy to be comfortable.

The final reason I still like Google’s maps better are their up to date high-resolution satellite images. Microsoft’s are still black and white and most are still from the early 1990’s. One rumor going around was that Microsoft had erased Apple’s HQ off of their map. In reality, the pictures were so old, Apple’s primary campus had not been built yet. Here are the maps to compare: Google, MSN.

Google's map of Apple's HQ
Google’s website looking at Apple’s Headquarters

MSN's map of Apple's HQ
Microsoft’s website looking at where Apple’s Headquarters should be

I’d be curious to know what other people think of the two.