On April 10, Microsoft plans to release Virtual Earth version 6.1. Among the enhancements:
- Enhanced experiences with bird’s eye view in 3D, and new bird’s eye hybrid view.
- Reverse geocoding for U.S. users.
- Walking directions for North America and European Union users.
- Traffic-based driving directions.
- New cross-browser support.
- Improved printing support for maps.
That’s quite a bit of good stuff. While I’ve always been impressed with the rate of imagery added to Virtual Earth, I’ve felt that they’ve been behind Google Earth/Maps in terms of features. Improvements like this are helping them to narrow that gap. Many of these are things that Google Maps can already do (cross-browser support, traffic-based directions, etc), but it’s nice to see them continue to catch up.
Bird’s Eye imagery has always been a unique feature that they have, so adding hybrid support to that will be neat to see.