Sunday, 13 April 2008

Microsoft Drops the Ball with Virtual Earth in the UK

Update 2: ...but picks it right back up again. All is explained. It's a bit like Pam's dream.

Update 23:48 13th April: It looks like somebody is listening, as Live Maps has been reinstated for UK users, at least for now.

For the last couple of days UK users accessing MS Live Search Maps, perhaps hoping to use the enhanced Virtual Earth 3D features excitedly announced on the Virtual Earth/Live maps blog, have found themselves unexpectedly dumped at multimap. Now, multimap offers some useful features, but it isn't Virtual Earth.

Want the 3D interface? Forget it.

Want to use your SpaceNavigator? Forget it.

Want to access your stored collections, pushpins or 3D models? Forget it.

All gone.

As a partial fix, you can pretend to be a US user by heading to, and everything seems to work, though of course you lose the integration with Live Search.

There are reports that Microsoft are reviewing their decision in the light of the number of complaints they have received about this. It would be nice to hope that a more intelligent way of integrating the best of multimap into Virtual Earth could be found, rather than chucking out half of Virtual Earth to support multimap.

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