Microsoft just released a Live Local technology preview that lets you drive around a city. They have forward, side, and rear imagery for all the streets in Seattle and San Francisco. The result is surprisingly fun and smooth as you can drive through the city using the arrow keys.
Windows Live Local Technology Preview demonstrates Microsoft’s work-in-progress thinking about a rich immersive experience in mapping that also explores local information.
Street-side views enable you to view imagery as if you were driving or walking along the street. There are a number of ways to explore street-side views. You can explore street-side views by “driving” (with your mouse or with the arrow keys on your keyboard) the “Sports Car” or “Race Car” along streets in the map or you can also “Walk” along the street. When the car is on a street that has street-side images, the car headlights turn on and you can view the front, right, and left views through the car windows above. When there are no available views, a “no view” screen is displayed. Simply drag (or “drive” with keystrokes) the car to a different place to continue browsing.
You can use the two boxes at the top to search for interesting places. You can search for addresses and select the city. For example, you can search for “pizza” in the category box to find nearby pizza places. Or you can use the address box to find a friend’s house. Once you’ve found something, hover over the icon for the details. There is also a link to zoom directly to the street.