I just saw on Steve Rubel's blog that Virtual Earth has gone live. I've been playing around with the internal release of Virtual Earth for some time - so I know how killer it is. I don't know what Channel 9 video Scoble keeps alluding to but my bet is on it being one with the Virtual Earth team.The official release is only on Monday so expect server performance to be spotty till then.

Here's the Virtual Earth team blog where they talk about unique ways to take team photos among other things. :-)

Here are the killer features so far for me

  •  High resolution and detail. In fact, Virtual Earth seems to be competing as much with Google Earth as with Google Maps.
  • The scratchpad - which lets you blog a location, email, etc.
  • Search that 'just works'. What do I mean? Search for 'Statue of Liberty' on Virtual Earth and on Google Maps to see what I mean.
  • Mouse scroll to zoom in and out. Yes, I know you can do the same on the keypad with Google Maps but I prefer this model.

Here are a couple of tech landmarks I tried out.

Microsoft campus

One Infinite Loop

 

Features I want in Virtual Earth? The ability to search for locations outside the United States. Searching for 'India' doesn't give me anything today.

Update: I was wrong about that. Here's where I work right now. :-)

I'm sure the blogosphere is going to be abuzz with comparisons with Google Maps so before anyone else, here's one comparison from me.I searched for a relatively famous company with offices in Mountain View.  Compare the resolution on Virtual Earth and on Google Maps.

Google Maps at maximum zoom

Virtual Earth at maximum zoom

Virtual Earth team - you rock!

Update: The blogosphere is already abuzz!  8559 posts already on Technorati and 3212 hits on Feedster

Also, here's an example site built using the developer SDK. Scoble has also done a Channel 9 video. Shows off the scratchpad, wildcard search among others.