updated 10:00 pm EDT, Sun March 22, 2009
Microsoft has announced plans to launch a mapping service, GeoSynth, that will take on Google's Street View mapping feature, according to Pocket-lint. The new service will use Photosynth technology to merge high-definition photos taken and submitted by the general public, and then relate the content according to geographic data. The program could also be connected to Virtual Earth, potentially enabling users to browse street-level views of almost any location worldwide.
According to Virtual Earth technology specialist Johannes Kebeck, the system will take the best images from a location to create a single image of a specific landmark. All geo-tagged images submitted by users will be uploaded into a central database that combines them into a larger detailed picture of the area.
Microsoft also made an announcement that Virtual Earth will support Silverlight in a beta to be released this summer. The company claims users will be able to access map tiles roughly nine times faster in its Internet Explorer 8 browser, or five times faster in Google's Chrome browser.
Geosynth is expected to launch sometime later this year.