Tuesday, July 26, 2005

They've Done It Again! Yet another poorly designed service from Microsoft.

I am going into the deeper examination of a new Microsoft service - MSN Virtual Earth. After playing with it for a while yesterday and today I came to the firm conclusion that it's just yet another poorly designed product/service with no other reason to exist but to show them (Google Maps) that Microsoft can make draggable web maps too.

User interface is awful, map's behavior is disgusting - it literally runs away from you, some areas of the map are blacked out and you need to reload the page to see them.

Scratch pad is absolutely useless other than for jumping from one place to another. You cannot, for example use the items in your scratch pad to create a route and driving directions. If you click a Drive To or Drive From Link in the small pop-up place tag (that is of course if you are able to keep that pop-up up at all), you are send to the different web page (maps.msn.com). And guess what, you will need to enter the Start or Finish address all over again even if you have it in your scratch pad on MSN Virtual Earth. After you do that, the directions are shown not on the MSN Virtual Earth map, but on the handicapped maps.msn.com.
When using the Google Maps you are always in the same window, on the same page, and if you chose to find the driving directions and click From here or To here in the pop-up location tag, you'll actually be able to enter the destination address right there, and see the results eight on the draggable Google Maps with all of the benefits of the satellite imagery and street overlay graphics (that are pretty accurate I might add).

So, yes, MSN Virtual Earth has higher resolution of the outdated satellite photos, but Google offers a pleasant user experience of a product/service that actually works.
Yay!- maps.google.com; Boo!- MSN Virtual Earth.

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