Microsoft Developer, Chandu Thota has outlined Microsoft's plans to launch a new service that will compete directly with Google Maps as early as this summer in a posting on his web blog. In his post he states "Virtual Earth is a fusion of many exciting dimentions that we experience from mutiple sources today; it provides a core set of reference points such as maps, aerial imagery, photos, consumer and business directories and ratings and reviews and allow the broader community of consumers and businesses to contribute their own location-specific information to create an always expanding, dynamic and relevant local search experience."
The online tool will boast 45 degree imaging, Satellite images with street map overlays, and ability to add local data layers, such as showing local businesses or restaurants. Its not known if the service will be free, or an enhanced version of the tool be made available to MSN subscribers.
View: Welcome to Virtual Earth! @ Chandu Thota's Blog
Thanks jphillips59 for the heads up on this in Back Page News.