Microsoft’s is, um.. Live!

I got a chance to take a quick look at the new this morning. The Bird’s eye views in Washington D.C. aren’t all that spectacular, but the ones in Microsoft’s home town are awesome. 

The service is great overall, but my impressions so far include a couple of negatives.  These are:

  • The zoom feature still does this choppy redraw thing.  If I double-click the UI goes to all the trouble to do this neat zooming action, but when it arrives at the new zoom level, the screen goes black while it redraws the tiles.  If I’ve viewed a particular area at that zoom level before, I don’t notice this, but for new areas, it’s quite distracting.  It would be great if they could find a way to keep the previous image on screen until the new one is fully ready to display, and then maybe throw a DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Fade at it to minimize the distraction of the user.

  • The back & forward buttons don’t work.  I know that the implementation of the UI doesn’t allow this easily, but maybe you could provide some working back & forward buttons in the UI near the zoom controls.

  • I have to click the permalink menu option to open a popup before I can copy the permalink.  Maybe give me a right-click option on that same menu to copy the link to the clipboard?

All in all though, the service is coming together nicely.  In the locations where they have good imagery, the Bird’s Eye stuff looks great!  It makes me want more features, like a real tilt/pan/zoom & real 3-degree or 6-degree-of-freedom navigation.  For now though, this gives me the best view of some neighborhoods that I’ve ever seen on the net.