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Microsoft Corp.'s MSN portal on Tuesday launched a preview of a feature that adds interactive street-side views to its Local Live search and mapping service.
The feature adds on-the-ground pictures to Virtual Earth, which has been folded into Local Live and offers satellite imagery of geographical locations. The latest capability presents a view similar to what a person would see from a car, Sean Rowe, program manager for Virtual Earth, said in Microsoft's MSN Search blog.
The screen is cut in half, so the user can see the street-side view on top and the satellite view on the bottom. The satellite imagery can be changed to a road map.
Currently, San Francisco and Seattle are the only cities covered, but "many more cities" would be added by the time the feature is formally integrated into the Windows Live Local site this summer, Rowe said.
MSN is not the first search engine to introduce street-side views. Amazon.com introduced the feature more than a year ago in A9.com, which currently offers street views for two-dozen cities.