When Microsoft debuted Live Search Maps/Virtual Earth in 3-D last November there were many “oohs” and “aahs” but there was also the question: “Where’s New York?” It was not among the original 3-D cities that the Virtual Earth team rolled out. Now that omission has been rectified with the launch this morning of New York and a range of other U.S. cities and Ottawa, Canada.
While they’re very interesting and useful for some, they’re more of a novelty for most people — today.
But 3-D mapping and “immersive” environments like this are really about future applications that become pretty interesting to contemplate. Think of them as more practical versions of SecondLife, “metaverses” that will offer lots of content, e-commerce opportunities (i.e., Travel) and even social networking in the near future, as connection speeds improve. And these 3-D worlds will play well on TV, as the Internet increasingly makes its way into the living room.