Over the last couple years, Microsoft has burnt boatloads of cash to become “Google with a different colour scheme”, by following Google’s lead and releasing copycat products a few months after the Google versions (simplified search engine, desktop search). Now they’re about to do it again with MSN Virtual Earth, a mapping service with many conspicuous Google-Maps-esque features such as overlaying popups on the map and dynamic zooming.
Online mapping services are not a new idea, but Google was the first to make a compelling map browsing engine that runs in any modern browser with no plugins required.
In related news, Keyhole is to be renamed “Google Earth”. Let the conspiracy theories begin!