Why doesn’t Microsoft Maps get the hype?

First, thanks Leon Atkinson for the compliment: Scoble’s links are as good as the links that come out of Digg.”

Anyway, while reading my feeds this morning I found this post by Peter Laudati, who works for Microsoft: “Virtual Earth Virtually Ignored? (aka What’s in a name?)”

He points out that Google got all the credit for its new “MyMaps” feature, while Microsoft’s maps had that feature several months ago.

He blames it on the URL and naming strategy Microsoft has been using lately. Or lack thereof.

He’s right. But, his post got me to look a little closer at the personal feature.

I went to http://maps.google.com/ (Google’s maps) and http://local.live.com (Microsoft’s maps).

I think Peter is right, but he’s also wrong.

The reason Google got credit is cause their maps are easier to use.

Why? One search box. Microsoft’s has two.

But, look at the opening page on both services. Google has a lot more info density on my page, cause I’ve done a ton of searches (it shows me many of my past searches).

And Google has two tabs up top: 1) Search Results 2) My Maps.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has 1) Welcome 2) Collections 3) Driving directions 4) Traffic 5) Locate me 6) Share 7) Print.

Too much. If you’re hoping people find “Collections.” But, let’s try them out.

I saved the same thing on both. Or I thought I did. Google’s UI is simpler and Microsoft’s has more choices and isn’t as clear.

I thought I screwed up. I went back and did it on Microsoft’s maps again. Went Collections/New Collections. Filled in the form. Put the push pin on where the Ritz is in Half Moon Bay. Looks like it saved it automatically (I don’t see a save button). Close the browser. Go back to Collections/Open. Nothing is there.

Google’s feature works, and is simple. I can’t figure out how to use Microsoft’s collections feature, and that’s after finding it.

Microsoft’s software makes me feel like an idiot (it’s true, I know, but the software over on Google doesn’t make me feel that way).

So, when you’re wondering why a competitor is getting more hype, you might look a little deeper than just the name.

Comments

  1. When has Microsoft ever tried to make the UI simpler while still providing solid functionality?

    Their solution is always the same: Make the UI more complex and then vomit wizards in the hope that one day, they’ll have a wizard for everything.

  2. When has Microsoft ever tried to make the UI simpler while still providing solid functionality?

    Their solution is always the same: Make the UI more complex and then vomit wizards in the hope that one day, they’ll have a wizard for everything.

  3. Microsoft always has the technical prowess to do anything as good or better than its competitors. Live Local is proof of that – it’s technically more advanced than Google Maps. What they lack is basic common sense on usability. For MS, more is always better and that has been their mantra for 25 years.

    Microsoft doesn’t understand Slick at all. It seems that to them, slick means more gradient fills in their cluttered UI’s.

  4. Microsoft always has the technical prowess to do anything as good or better than its competitors. Live Local is proof of that – it’s technically more advanced than Google Maps. What they lack is basic common sense on usability. For MS, more is always better and that has been their mantra for 25 years.

    Microsoft doesn’t understand Slick at all. It seems that to them, slick means more gradient fills in their cluttered UI’s.

  5. You’re absolutely right on this one – I have just got utterly sick of being frustrated whenever I try to use the MS maps stuff.

    Half the time it mysteriously goes back to that crap multimap postage-stamp style pixelated map display, and I think “Hang on, where’s that nice satallite imagery and the big maps?” Every time I’ve said to someone “Look at this…” and gone to the MS maps URL (although I can barely remember what it is, most of the time), it’s gone back to the crap-o-vision version (and they say “Er, Google Maps is much better”).

    A couple of weeks later I try again, and it’s back to satellite imagery and decent UI – what’s going on? Either it keeps changing, or I’m using different URLs – in which case, why are there different URLs, and why do they use different mapping systems?

    The two search boxes thing is a killer – type in Edinburgh on the place name and click the search button. It appears as though nothing happens (on Firefox 2). So do I have to go to some other URL to just use maps to find places rather than businesses?

    Here’s an idea: when I search for a place-name on your map system, Microsoft, how about showing me a map of that place rather than ignoring me? Radical idea, eh?

    Here’s why Google Maps gets the hype: I go to maps.google.com, and it JUST WORKS. Every time.

  6. You’re absolutely right on this one – I have just got utterly sick of being frustrated whenever I try to use the MS maps stuff.

    Half the time it mysteriously goes back to that crap multimap postage-stamp style pixelated map display, and I think “Hang on, where’s that nice satallite imagery and the big maps?” Every time I’ve said to someone “Look at this…” and gone to the MS maps URL (although I can barely remember what it is, most of the time), it’s gone back to the crap-o-vision version (and they say “Er, Google Maps is much better”).

    A couple of weeks later I try again, and it’s back to satellite imagery and decent UI – what’s going on? Either it keeps changing, or I’m using different URLs – in which case, why are there different URLs, and why do they use different mapping systems?

    The two search boxes thing is a killer – type in Edinburgh on the place name and click the search button. It appears as though nothing happens (on Firefox 2). So do I have to go to some other URL to just use maps to find places rather than businesses?

    Here’s an idea: when I search for a place-name on your map system, Microsoft, how about showing me a map of that place rather than ignoring me? Radical idea, eh?

    Here’s why Google Maps gets the hype: I go to maps.google.com, and it JUST WORKS. Every time.

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more! The whole MS Live thing looks nice but doesn’t function as we as Googles. As Kevin said above I think their apps are often lacking common sense. Also, there are just too many hoops to jump through to get anything done with MS Live products.

  8. I couldn’t agree with you more! The whole MS Live thing looks nice but doesn’t function as we as Googles. As Kevin said above I think their apps are often lacking common sense. Also, there are just too many hoops to jump through to get anything done with MS Live products.

  9. True. To be honest though, live.com has far more features within its mapping. The ability to draw on your maps, measure distance, customise areas and publish to a collection in map, ariel, birds eye, hybrid and even 3D is fantastic.

    But, true enough, all the good features are somewhat buried.

  10. True. To be honest though, live.com has far more features within its mapping. The ability to draw on your maps, measure distance, customise areas and publish to a collection in map, ariel, birds eye, hybrid and even 3D is fantastic.

    But, true enough, all the good features are somewhat buried.

  11. local.live fails (silently) on Opera, which doesn’t help the user experience if you happen to use that browser… Google Maps works just fine.

    This is a shame as in the UK VE’s ariel images are *far* superior to Google’s – better resolution, colouration, and coverage.

  12. local.live fails (silently) on Opera, which doesn’t help the user experience if you happen to use that browser… Google Maps works just fine.

    This is a shame as in the UK VE’s ariel images are *far* superior to Google’s – better resolution, colouration, and coverage.

  13. “When has Microsoft ever tried to make the UI simpler while still providing solid functionality?”

    LOL, have you not seen Office 2007? I have never seen a better UI – it’s a revolution.

  14. “When has Microsoft ever tried to make the UI simpler while still providing solid functionality?”

    LOL, have you not seen Office 2007? I have never seen a better UI – it’s a revolution.

  15. I think branding is a big problem though. Everybody knows Google = Search. But what does Windows Live mean? To start with, it was almost an MSN replacement. Everything was ‘Live’ apart from the MSN website (content – entertainment, news, etc) and then slowly some services have been pulled out of Live and into MSN (the new product search, soapbox, hotspot finder).

    So what is Windows Live? It seems now to be an extension of Microsoft software and Windows which, in a way makes some sense, but there’s no clear lines, and most MS employees don’t know (heck, most blogs still refer to MSN Messenger, including Major Nelson, etc).

    The other problem is that Windows isn’t a strong brand for the ‘cool’ factor. For the same reason that Xbox would have failed had it have been released as “Windows Gaming Machine” (an original suggestion of Bill Gates according to interviews I’ve read). MSN itself was a stronger brand for the cool kids.

    It’s a shame as there’s some cracking products and technologies… Max and Photosynth come to mind, and Windows Local (or Windows Maps – more confusion?) has some stunning features and wonderful photography, but it’s lost by complications in being straight forward to use and in the branding.

    Had MS had a decent search engine in the MSN search days, I very much doubt Windows Live would have happened – it seemed like a way to ‘start afresh’ with a rebranding.

  16. I think branding is a big problem though. Everybody knows Google = Search. But what does Windows Live mean? To start with, it was almost an MSN replacement. Everything was ‘Live’ apart from the MSN website (content – entertainment, news, etc) and then slowly some services have been pulled out of Live and into MSN (the new product search, soapbox, hotspot finder).

    So what is Windows Live? It seems now to be an extension of Microsoft software and Windows which, in a way makes some sense, but there’s no clear lines, and most MS employees don’t know (heck, most blogs still refer to MSN Messenger, including Major Nelson, etc).

    The other problem is that Windows isn’t a strong brand for the ‘cool’ factor. For the same reason that Xbox would have failed had it have been released as “Windows Gaming Machine” (an original suggestion of Bill Gates according to interviews I’ve read). MSN itself was a stronger brand for the cool kids.

    It’s a shame as there’s some cracking products and technologies… Max and Photosynth come to mind, and Windows Local (or Windows Maps – more confusion?) has some stunning features and wonderful photography, but it’s lost by complications in being straight forward to use and in the branding.

    Had MS had a decent search engine in the MSN search days, I very much doubt Windows Live would have happened – it seemed like a way to ‘start afresh’ with a rebranding.

  17. Yeah, but Live Maps has better, more accurate traffic. The Windows Live Maps Vista Gadget is pretty nice too.

    Also, I use the Windows Live Mobile Search app on my SmartPhone and it actually beats my TrafficGauge appliance. Go to http://wls.live.com to get it. It is there for Blackberry people now too.

    I like the way Google Mobile Maps loads better than Windows, but the data is so much better in Live Maps for traffic that it doesn’t matter.

    TTFN

  18. Yeah, but Live Maps has better, more accurate traffic. The Windows Live Maps Vista Gadget is pretty nice too.

    Also, I use the Windows Live Mobile Search app on my SmartPhone and it actually beats my TrafficGauge appliance. Go to http://wls.live.com to get it. It is there for Blackberry people now too.

    I like the way Google Mobile Maps loads better than Windows, but the data is so much better in Live Maps for traffic that it doesn’t matter.

    TTFN

  19. Gregger, absolutely. I think, technically and feature-wise, Windows Live wins hands down. And the relationships between MS products through sync, etc. has improved greatly over the last year (look at the Xbox 360/messenger announcement this week, although why I can’t sync messenger contacts with outlook or Vista’s address book is still beyond me) and that is where the strength is. So from that point of view, the branding makes sense.

    But, the fact is, the name’s just not cool. It’s not an ‘Xbox’ or an ‘Ipod’ it’s Windows Live. It’s a silly way to brand it really (Can Mac users not use it? What about set top box internet? Mobiles?) – it’s like having a television network called “Samsung 32 Inch” or branding a gas station “Mercedes”.

    I can totally see Laudati’s point on this. In many ways, Live is more advanced than Google. And, yes, in many ways it’s a branding thing (Google = cool, Google = search). If they’re sticking with Windows Live as a branding though, it needs to be clearer on the UI and they should emphasise the strong points of the WL brand (the sync, multiple platforms, the Live Anywhere features).

    I think if somebody like Robert Scoble has problems navigating around the Live/Live Local interface, then what hope would my mother have of getting traffic reports, setting up collections, etc.

  20. Gregger, absolutely. I think, technically and feature-wise, Windows Live wins hands down. And the relationships between MS products through sync, etc. has improved greatly over the last year (look at the Xbox 360/messenger announcement this week, although why I can’t sync messenger contacts with outlook or Vista’s address book is still beyond me) and that is where the strength is. So from that point of view, the branding makes sense.

    But, the fact is, the name’s just not cool. It’s not an ‘Xbox’ or an ‘Ipod’ it’s Windows Live. It’s a silly way to brand it really (Can Mac users not use it? What about set top box internet? Mobiles?) – it’s like having a television network called “Samsung 32 Inch” or branding a gas station “Mercedes”.

    I can totally see Laudati’s point on this. In many ways, Live is more advanced than Google. And, yes, in many ways it’s a branding thing (Google = cool, Google = search). If they’re sticking with Windows Live as a branding though, it needs to be clearer on the UI and they should emphasise the strong points of the WL brand (the sync, multiple platforms, the Live Anywhere features).

    I think if somebody like Robert Scoble has problems navigating around the Live/Live Local interface, then what hope would my mother have of getting traffic reports, setting up collections, etc.

  21. “Microsoft’s software makes me feel like an idiot”

    And cooper in “the inmates are running the prison” says that’s the no 1 thing people want to avoid when using software, and thus the most important thing to aviod when designit it.

  22. “Microsoft’s software makes me feel like an idiot”

    And cooper in “the inmates are running the prison” says that’s the no 1 thing people want to avoid when using software, and thus the most important thing to aviod when designit it.

  23. Why use google maps instead of ms maps? Clarity of use and branding. Having worked at MS in 2004 and 2005, I still have no idea what “Live” is, except the latest buzzphrase used by marketeers and posters.

    Then there’s the constant fear that MS is going to underhandedly lock me into their platform. Never again!

  24. Why use google maps instead of ms maps? Clarity of use and branding. Having worked at MS in 2004 and 2005, I still have no idea what “Live” is, except the latest buzzphrase used by marketeers and posters.

    Then there’s the constant fear that MS is going to underhandedly lock me into their platform. Never again!

  25. Yeah, actually I just sent a set of feedback items to the mobile team. This weekend the traffic was reversed in Petaluma! I thought I was home-free, but the traffic jam was in my lane! :(

    But WLS needs to be more intuitive. I just wrote a rant internally about software because we still make users think like a developer. In some apps I feel like I’m traversing an object model to do what I want to do… my mom doesn’t think that way. Even my mother-in-law (who is technical) can’t always get things like WLS mobile to work.

    All these “end of software” rants lately grate on me because our company makes a lot of server software… where does SalesForce.com and Web 2.0 think this “software free” universe is going to exist?! Arrgh…

    Making something “not software” means making the user feel like they’re doing their job, not “using software.” Fast responsive UI’s, intuitive user experience, and the right features… if Web 2.0 delivers that, then perhaps software and the OS is dead.

    TTFN

  26. Yeah, actually I just sent a set of feedback items to the mobile team. This weekend the traffic was reversed in Petaluma! I thought I was home-free, but the traffic jam was in my lane! :(

    But WLS needs to be more intuitive. I just wrote a rant internally about software because we still make users think like a developer. In some apps I feel like I’m traversing an object model to do what I want to do… my mom doesn’t think that way. Even my mother-in-law (who is technical) can’t always get things like WLS mobile to work.

    All these “end of software” rants lately grate on me because our company makes a lot of server software… where does SalesForce.com and Web 2.0 think this “software free” universe is going to exist?! Arrgh…

    Making something “not software” means making the user feel like they’re doing their job, not “using software.” Fast responsive UI’s, intuitive user experience, and the right features… if Web 2.0 delivers that, then perhaps software and the OS is dead.

    TTFN

  27. Robert, your absolutely right. Google Maps just works. My fiancee, parents, and grandparents all use it. It is simple, fast, and smart enough to figure out what they are asking. I haven’t cracked open a phone book in over a year because Google Maps just plain works when I need to find something, whether it is a pizza place or where the DMV is.

    I never get that feeling when using Microsoft’s Maps (or whatever they are calling it this week).

  28. Robert, your absolutely right. Google Maps just works. My fiancee, parents, and grandparents all use it. It is simple, fast, and smart enough to figure out what they are asking. I haven’t cracked open a phone book in over a year because Google Maps just plain works when I need to find something, whether it is a pizza place or where the DMV is.

    I never get that feeling when using Microsoft’s Maps (or whatever they are calling it this week).

  29. I agree with basically everything you said. I discovered Live Collections a couple months ago, and have made a few collections myself (like when I was searching for a new house), although 1) I have consistently been dissapointed with the lack of flexibility (e.g. how hard would it be to allow me to change the marker color), 2) it is overly complicated, and 3) I just generally don’t like the interface.

    I have been very pleased with Google My Maps, though. It excels in many places Live Collections fails – the markers/lines/shapes are drop-dead simple to create, the colors/shading/opaqueness are fully flexible, and the interface is generally just more pleasing to the eye. It still lacks some basic features, like the ability to re-order the marker listings on the left and easy to read URLs, but already it’s a step ahead of Live and other basic offerings.

  30. I agree with basically everything you said. I discovered Live Collections a couple months ago, and have made a few collections myself (like when I was searching for a new house), although 1) I have consistently been dissapointed with the lack of flexibility (e.g. how hard would it be to allow me to change the marker color), 2) it is overly complicated, and 3) I just generally don’t like the interface.

    I have been very pleased with Google My Maps, though. It excels in many places Live Collections fails – the markers/lines/shapes are drop-dead simple to create, the colors/shading/opaqueness are fully flexible, and the interface is generally just more pleasing to the eye. It still lacks some basic features, like the ability to re-order the marker listings on the left and easy to read URLs, but already it’s a step ahead of Live and other basic offerings.

  31. You may also try live advanced search, I got irritation. BTW, type something to get advanced link. Tabs, focus and enter key didn’t work the way I expected. once you close the ad.panel, You can’t get the words you typed.
    kind rgrds
    saran

  32. You may also try live advanced search, I got irritation. BTW, type something to get advanced link. Tabs, focus and enter key didn’t work the way I expected. once you close the ad.panel, You can’t get the words you typed.
    kind rgrds
    saran

  33. On the same note, hotmail never saves my password. I specifically select the option to save both email and password but everytime I go there, it asks me to enter password. I hate that. (I have a big password)
    On the other hand, google saves password for 14 days. I like that.

  34. On the same note, hotmail never saves my password. I specifically select the option to save both email and password but everytime I go there, it asks me to enter password. I hate that. (I have a big password)
    On the other hand, google saves password for 14 days. I like that.

  35. Speed Baby, Speed

    Speed is the best User Experience.

    Speed allows you to choose faster.

    Fast and Simple trumps Density for 90% of the tasks that most beings want to accomplish.

    The lesson is do-less, and do it better…

    Scoble… Results 1 – 10 of about 1,040,000 English pages for scoble. (0.26 seconds)

  36. Speed Baby, Speed

    Speed is the best User Experience.

    Speed allows you to choose faster.

    Fast and Simple trumps Density for 90% of the tasks that most beings want to accomplish.

    The lesson is do-less, and do it better…

    Scoble… Results 1 – 10 of about 1,040,000 English pages for scoble. (0.26 seconds)

  37. I think Microsoft should drop the word “Live” completely. It is a generic, not-so-good name which isn’t established enough as yet to be used as a prefix for their web apps.

    They need to replace it with a better, unique name or let each of their web apps have a life of their own – with their own unique name and url.

    http://www.varunmathur.net/?p=38

  38. I think Microsoft should drop the word “Live” completely. It is a generic, not-so-good name which isn’t established enough as yet to be used as a prefix for their web apps.

    They need to replace it with a better, unique name or let each of their web apps have a life of their own – with their own unique name and url.

    http://www.varunmathur.net/?p=38

  39. Hey Scoble – one of the costs of innovating is that sometimes competitors get to have a look and come out with improvements. Since we released Collections about a year ago, Ask and Google have both released similar features in their mapping sites. I think Google did a great job with the My Maps feature and made some nice improvements to our Collections interface. We’ve been working on some improvements this year as well. Even with its usability flaws, Collections have become one of the most popular features at Live Search Maps and the usability fixes we are planning are pretty straight forward.

    I thought you’d mention that we added RSS feeds for Collections last week ;-) It’s actually GeoRSS, so spatial nerds can consume the feeds programmatically as well. It allows you to add a Collection’s feed to your favorite RSS reader to keep up to date on changes. as an example here is someone’s feed of Restaurants in Seattle area:

    http://maps.live.com/GeoCommunity.aspx?action=retrieverss&mkt=en-us&cid=19EDDB96457C23B8!863

    thanks for the feedback. I found your comments to be constructive as they usually are, and that’s always welcome and helpful.

    cheers,

    Steve Lombardi
    Virtual Earth Program Manager
    stevelom@microsoft.com

  40. Hey Scoble – one of the costs of innovating is that sometimes competitors get to have a look and come out with improvements. Since we released Collections about a year ago, Ask and Google have both released similar features in their mapping sites. I think Google did a great job with the My Maps feature and made some nice improvements to our Collections interface. We’ve been working on some improvements this year as well. Even with its usability flaws, Collections have become one of the most popular features at Live Search Maps and the usability fixes we are planning are pretty straight forward.

    I thought you’d mention that we added RSS feeds for Collections last week ;-) It’s actually GeoRSS, so spatial nerds can consume the feeds programmatically as well. It allows you to add a Collection’s feed to your favorite RSS reader to keep up to date on changes. as an example here is someone’s feed of Restaurants in Seattle area:

    http://maps.live.com/GeoCommunity.aspx?action=retrieverss&mkt=en-us&cid=19EDDB96457C23B8!863

    thanks for the feedback. I found your comments to be constructive as they usually are, and that’s always welcome and helpful.

    cheers,

    Steve Lombardi
    Virtual Earth Program Manager
    stevelom@microsoft.com

  41. As you’ve triggered my curiosity (though I’m aware it killed the cat) I decided to give it a go. Though i decided to use my daily working environment (Ubuntu, firefox etc.), maybe i’ll try it out later on using Windows, but this is also the environment i use with google.

    As I’m based in the Netherlands, first thing I try is finding my own address, using streetname, city, netherlands. Google Maps finds my address without a problem. Live isn’t able to find this address. It seems they don’t cater for an audience in the Netherlands.

    The double search box is indeed somewhat confusing. I can see a lot of functionalities of which some plainly don’t work or are somewhat strange:

    - locate me, tells me they’ve found me and show the whole of north western Europe, they are right, I live there somewhere.
    - Traffic doesn’t work
    - Driving directions doesn’t work it just has something about loading, but no stuff to see for me. I’ll try that later.
    - collections works great, but its counterintuitive but that might be because what I’m used in google maps.

    (I just tried it using windows and the experience is somewhat different, including download of an activeX control….)

    There’s one thing that Google does well, the experience works regardless of which browser i’m using whether this is IE or Firefox. And they indeed keep it simple, my dad can use the google map, but I doubt he will be able to use the live stuf.

    One thing is sure, I won’t be leaving the google maps very soon. If they want me to consider it, make it simple, cross browser and cross OS (though I guess thats counter intuitive to them).

  42. As you’ve triggered my curiosity (though I’m aware it killed the cat) I decided to give it a go. Though i decided to use my daily working environment (Ubuntu, firefox etc.), maybe i’ll try it out later on using Windows, but this is also the environment i use with google.

    As I’m based in the Netherlands, first thing I try is finding my own address, using streetname, city, netherlands. Google Maps finds my address without a problem. Live isn’t able to find this address. It seems they don’t cater for an audience in the Netherlands.

    The double search box is indeed somewhat confusing. I can see a lot of functionalities of which some plainly don’t work or are somewhat strange:

    - locate me, tells me they’ve found me and show the whole of north western Europe, they are right, I live there somewhere.
    - Traffic doesn’t work
    - Driving directions doesn’t work it just has something about loading, but no stuff to see for me. I’ll try that later.
    - collections works great, but its counterintuitive but that might be because what I’m used in google maps.

    (I just tried it using windows and the experience is somewhat different, including download of an activeX control….)

    There’s one thing that Google does well, the experience works regardless of which browser i’m using whether this is IE or Firefox. And they indeed keep it simple, my dad can use the google map, but I doubt he will be able to use the live stuf.

    One thing is sure, I won’t be leaving the google maps very soon. If they want me to consider it, make it simple, cross browser and cross OS (though I guess thats counter intuitive to them).

  43. You can actually access via maps.live.com now. I’m a tech geek for a living, I had no problem getting my ‘collections’ together. Of course you have to sign in and all that good stuff, but the idea that you want to add pushpins, give that set of points a title (ie. great restaurants in Fargo) and save it as either public or private, didn’t seem that counterintuitive to me. I’ve been a counter-MS kinda guy for years, but I actually like the live maps better than google maps whenever I’m trying to point someone to specific points of interest in an area…

  44. You can actually access via maps.live.com now. I’m a tech geek for a living, I had no problem getting my ‘collections’ together. Of course you have to sign in and all that good stuff, but the idea that you want to add pushpins, give that set of points a title (ie. great restaurants in Fargo) and save it as either public or private, didn’t seem that counterintuitive to me. I’ve been a counter-MS kinda guy for years, but I actually like the live maps better than google maps whenever I’m trying to point someone to specific points of interest in an area…

  45. @Steve, It’s nice when you add new functionality, but it would be even better if it’s easy to find. One question I’ve got are you also using the geo Microformat?

    It would also be nice when you give the opportunity to blog about to use some of the more popular blogs instead of only enabling the Microsoft stuff.

    The main problem you guys got is that you’re not playing nice with a lot of services. I wont be using live places when I’ve already have another service that works for me….

  46. @Steve, It’s nice when you add new functionality, but it would be even better if it’s easy to find. One question I’ve got are you also using the geo Microformat?

    It would also be nice when you give the opportunity to blog about to use some of the more popular blogs instead of only enabling the Microsoft stuff.

    The main problem you guys got is that you’re not playing nice with a lot of services. I wont be using live places when I’ve already have another service that works for me….

  47. @SteveLombardi. Awesome! Clicking on the link in your comment gives a plain white page that says ‘BackingStoreError’. Super cool!

  48. @SteveLombardi. Awesome! Clicking on the link in your comment gives a plain white page that says ‘BackingStoreError’. Super cool!

  49. I agree with everyone who points fingers at branding. a) the Microsoft brand doesn’t stand for cool stuff. (whereas Apple and Google do). b) the Live brand is a total zilch in most contexts. It works very well in Xbox Live, but there it’s a modifier of the very strong Xbox brand. c) the Windows brand is too desktopy to work. Yahoo Maps and Google Maps make easy sense. Why haven’t they tried Microsoft Maps or MSN Maps? What’s with the Live?

    I also agree with folks who point to U-I muddles. I always get lost using Microsofts mapping offerings. Getting lost is the last attribute you want associated with your maps. Kind of defeats the purpose, wouldn’t you say?

  50. I agree with everyone who points fingers at branding. a) the Microsoft brand doesn’t stand for cool stuff. (whereas Apple and Google do). b) the Live brand is a total zilch in most contexts. It works very well in Xbox Live, but there it’s a modifier of the very strong Xbox brand. c) the Windows brand is too desktopy to work. Yahoo Maps and Google Maps make easy sense. Why haven’t they tried Microsoft Maps or MSN Maps? What’s with the Live?

    I also agree with folks who point to U-I muddles. I always get lost using Microsofts mapping offerings. Getting lost is the last attribute you want associated with your maps. Kind of defeats the purpose, wouldn’t you say?

  51. I have several comments in response to Ali and others.

    Cleary the Windows Live branding has been a problem but not for the reasons that some suggest. While Windows may not be “cool” to the technorati visiting blogs like Scobleizer, among the general public Windows is one of the most well known and, yes, respected brands in the world. They don’t always understand what Windows is or what it does but don’t underestimate the power of the Windows brand.If you need one easy example of this, look at the growing success of Windows Mobile. 2-3 years ago everyone wrote Windows off on devices. Today they’re verging on becoming the biggest player – largely because of the brand. The XBOX example that Ali uses is off base. Clearly Windows Gaming System would not have been a good name for XBOX but that’s beside the point. In the case of XBOX Microsoft knew that they needed to create an entirely new brand to break into a new market. I doubt that Windows was ever seriously considered.

    Second, I think there are some big misunderstandings of what Windows Live is. Blame a lot of that on Microsoft because of the way they’ve slapped the name onto so many different things. It reminds me of the early days of .NET.

    Ali says that everyone knows that Google = Search. Well, that’s what people think today but Google is going to face many of the same problems. They already have lots of “sub-brands” like GMAIL, Google Video (and YouTube…) etc etc. As they add additional services they’re going to have a hard time. Just watch.

    The thing that people misunderstand is that Windows Live is fundamentally a platform play. That’s Microsoft’s bread and butter. Just as Windows desktop OS’s provided a set of services/API’s that other developers could build apps on top of, Windows Live is going to provide a “service platform” that developers can use.Sure, anybody could probably go out and build an authentication system…the software itself isn’t that complicated. But very few companies have the resources to build an authentication service that has Internet scale. Same goes for lots of other foundational services like managing buddy lists or providing IM services. What Microsoft is trying to do is provide these platform services for any developer to use in their apps, regardless of operating system. Microsoft will do what they did with Office on Windows. They’ll create their own applications that use Windows Live services and try to make Windows, Office and all of their other apps as service-aware as possible. They’ll provide service sockets.

    Will they be successful? Who knows. But based on their track record of trying and trying and trying until they get it right I wouldn’t write them off. I know folks like to talk about how Microsoft is a two-trick pony (Windows and Office) but those people are confused. Microsoft is now one of the biggest players in server operating systems where they were nowhere 10 years ago. They’re #2 in database software – SQL alone would be one of the biggest software companies in the world. They’re #1 in email software. They’re 2nd and growing in phone software. They’re 2nd and growing in gaming consoles. They’re like GE – they want to be #1 or #2 in evevery market they’re in and they don’t give up until they get there.

    Or, in some cases, they leave the market to someone else. :)

  52. I have several comments in response to Ali and others.

    Cleary the Windows Live branding has been a problem but not for the reasons that some suggest. While Windows may not be “cool” to the technorati visiting blogs like Scobleizer, among the general public Windows is one of the most well known and, yes, respected brands in the world. They don’t always understand what Windows is or what it does but don’t underestimate the power of the Windows brand.If you need one easy example of this, look at the growing success of Windows Mobile. 2-3 years ago everyone wrote Windows off on devices. Today they’re verging on becoming the biggest player – largely because of the brand. The XBOX example that Ali uses is off base. Clearly Windows Gaming System would not have been a good name for XBOX but that’s beside the point. In the case of XBOX Microsoft knew that they needed to create an entirely new brand to break into a new market. I doubt that Windows was ever seriously considered.

    Second, I think there are some big misunderstandings of what Windows Live is. Blame a lot of that on Microsoft because of the way they’ve slapped the name onto so many different things. It reminds me of the early days of .NET.

    Ali says that everyone knows that Google = Search. Well, that’s what people think today but Google is going to face many of the same problems. They already have lots of “sub-brands” like GMAIL, Google Video (and YouTube…) etc etc. As they add additional services they’re going to have a hard time. Just watch.

    The thing that people misunderstand is that Windows Live is fundamentally a platform play. That’s Microsoft’s bread and butter. Just as Windows desktop OS’s provided a set of services/API’s that other developers could build apps on top of, Windows Live is going to provide a “service platform” that developers can use.Sure, anybody could probably go out and build an authentication system…the software itself isn’t that complicated. But very few companies have the resources to build an authentication service that has Internet scale. Same goes for lots of other foundational services like managing buddy lists or providing IM services. What Microsoft is trying to do is provide these platform services for any developer to use in their apps, regardless of operating system. Microsoft will do what they did with Office on Windows. They’ll create their own applications that use Windows Live services and try to make Windows, Office and all of their other apps as service-aware as possible. They’ll provide service sockets.

    Will they be successful? Who knows. But based on their track record of trying and trying and trying until they get it right I wouldn’t write them off. I know folks like to talk about how Microsoft is a two-trick pony (Windows and Office) but those people are confused. Microsoft is now one of the biggest players in server operating systems where they were nowhere 10 years ago. They’re #2 in database software – SQL alone would be one of the biggest software companies in the world. They’re #1 in email software. They’re 2nd and growing in phone software. They’re 2nd and growing in gaming consoles. They’re like GE – they want to be #1 or #2 in evevery market they’re in and they don’t give up until they get there.

    Or, in some cases, they leave the market to someone else. :)

  53. notaprguy: Windows is known and loved by many, but you’ve gotta be kidding if you think that love extends to the Internet. Or, have you missed how much market share Microsoft lost to Firefox lately?

    Brand doesn’t mean shit anymore. It’s who has the best service. Period.

  54. notaprguy: Windows is known and loved by many, but you’ve gotta be kidding if you think that love extends to the Internet. Or, have you missed how much market share Microsoft lost to Firefox lately?

    Brand doesn’t mean shit anymore. It’s who has the best service. Period.

  55. Personally, I’m not interested in religious wars (e.g. Windows/Linux/Mac, etc) or blanket generalizations. I use several different operating systems at home and at work, and the geek in me finds something interesting and unique in each of them. As a mapping/imagery enthusiast, I use Google Earth, Google Maps, Virtual Earth, VE 3D (now works in Firefox!), Destinator, and Streets & Trips. Again, they each have something compelling to offer and I have turned on many friends and relatives to these products and services, which never fail to elicit wonder and excitement. Most “ordinary people” don’t know that any of these things exist. Now that we are seeing revenue models being placed on top of these technologies, I think a great marketing opportunity exists here that is perhaps not being pursued to the extent that it could be. But what do I know, I’m not a marketing wonk.

    I think mapping is a particularly exciting space right now, as the data stores are beginning to mature and the enhancements to presentation and features are coming fast and thick. I suspect that the various camps of users of the technology are probably more adversarial than the actual devs involved. As Steve points out, Google is doing some great work here; GE is endlessly fascinating (given a beefy system and a fat pipe). Microsoft is innovating too. Bird’s Eye and Collections are great. VE 3D is a tremendous technical achievement, but it is not just a proof of concept; it actually provides a usable and valuable visualization capability. Again, there is no free lunch here. Leading-edge capabilities always benefit from or even require leading-edge power.

    For me however, being a pragmatist, the data is extremely important, regardless of how slick the implementation is. I will figure out just about any interface. But when one mapping site (GM) currently shows my four-year-old development as a hole in the ground, I will go instead to the site that shows me brand-new imagery. Right now, my site of choice for satellite imagery is maps.live.com. That said, I use both VE and GM regularly. Others’ mileage may vary, or for some it may come down to features if both sites have good data. This is a continual game of leapfrog now, and I don’t expect it to change soon. In the end, we get frequent updates and new features, so we’re all winners.

    Thanks to both Google and Microsoft for their great work!

  56. Personally, I’m not interested in religious wars (e.g. Windows/Linux/Mac, etc) or blanket generalizations. I use several different operating systems at home and at work, and the geek in me finds something interesting and unique in each of them. As a mapping/imagery enthusiast, I use Google Earth, Google Maps, Virtual Earth, VE 3D (now works in Firefox!), Destinator, and Streets & Trips. Again, they each have something compelling to offer and I have turned on many friends and relatives to these products and services, which never fail to elicit wonder and excitement. Most “ordinary people” don’t know that any of these things exist. Now that we are seeing revenue models being placed on top of these technologies, I think a great marketing opportunity exists here that is perhaps not being pursued to the extent that it could be. But what do I know, I’m not a marketing wonk.

    I think mapping is a particularly exciting space right now, as the data stores are beginning to mature and the enhancements to presentation and features are coming fast and thick. I suspect that the various camps of users of the technology are probably more adversarial than the actual devs involved. As Steve points out, Google is doing some great work here; GE is endlessly fascinating (given a beefy system and a fat pipe). Microsoft is innovating too. Bird’s Eye and Collections are great. VE 3D is a tremendous technical achievement, but it is not just a proof of concept; it actually provides a usable and valuable visualization capability. Again, there is no free lunch here. Leading-edge capabilities always benefit from or even require leading-edge power.

    For me however, being a pragmatist, the data is extremely important, regardless of how slick the implementation is. I will figure out just about any interface. But when one mapping site (GM) currently shows my four-year-old development as a hole in the ground, I will go instead to the site that shows me brand-new imagery. Right now, my site of choice for satellite imagery is maps.live.com. That said, I use both VE and GM regularly. Others’ mileage may vary, or for some it may come down to features if both sites have good data. This is a continual game of leapfrog now, and I don’t expect it to change soon. In the end, we get frequent updates and new features, so we’re all winners.

    Thanks to both Google and Microsoft for their great work!

  57. Robert – you’re mistaken. I’ll put $10 in escrow today and will pay you if you don’t back off the “brand doesn’t mean shit” comment within a year. That has been said over and over again for years – especially when something is in the early stages of hype (which the Internet still is). But ultimately Brand is everything. Look at iPod… Sure, it’s a nice device, works better than the other products in the category. But do you think people pay out the nose for it because of the functionality? No, it’s because of the brand.

    I agree that brand will mean different things in the world of software services but one could argue that it might become more important because people will gravitate toward brands they trust given the uncertainties (read: security risks, for example) inherent in software services. If anything Google proves my point. I think Google provides the best search results but that’s not why most people type http://www.google.com. They type http://www.google.com because of the Google brand name.

    I enjoy reading your blog. I’ll watch for the day that you slip up and admit that brand matters and when you do I’ll send you an invoice for the $10. If you’re going to MIX maybe we can meet over a beer and you can pay then?

  58. Robert – you’re mistaken. I’ll put $10 in escrow today and will pay you if you don’t back off the “brand doesn’t mean shit” comment within a year. That has been said over and over again for years – especially when something is in the early stages of hype (which the Internet still is). But ultimately Brand is everything. Look at iPod… Sure, it’s a nice device, works better than the other products in the category. But do you think people pay out the nose for it because of the functionality? No, it’s because of the brand.

    I agree that brand will mean different things in the world of software services but one could argue that it might become more important because people will gravitate toward brands they trust given the uncertainties (read: security risks, for example) inherent in software services. If anything Google proves my point. I think Google provides the best search results but that’s not why most people type http://www.google.com. They type http://www.google.com because of the Google brand name.

    I enjoy reading your blog. I’ll watch for the day that you slip up and admit that brand matters and when you do I’ll send you an invoice for the $10. If you’re going to MIX maybe we can meet over a beer and you can pay then?

  59. PS. Which brand is the brand that the vast majority of people in the world are using/experiencing when they surf the Web every day? Windows. And IE.

  60. PS. Which brand is the brand that the vast majority of people in the world are using/experiencing when they surf the Web every day? Windows. And IE.

  61. >notaprguy: you have a point. But, the iPod is simply a better product. Should I go over all the reasons why again? THAT adds up to a better brand. Windows is a brand that is stagnating. It’s a huge brand, yes, but how many people are really, genuinely excited by their new Windows Vista computers? I sure haven’t seen much “wow” even though the ads all tell us the wow is there.

    Google has a good brand name cause it’s the best search service out there and demonstratably so for most searches (I keep checking the competitors, and they don’t measure up).

    But, does a good brand in one place transfer over to a piece of crud? I don’t think so. The word-of-mouth networks are so efficient today that it’ll get pointed out as a piece of crud that’s to be avoided.

  62. >notaprguy: you have a point. But, the iPod is simply a better product. Should I go over all the reasons why again? THAT adds up to a better brand. Windows is a brand that is stagnating. It’s a huge brand, yes, but how many people are really, genuinely excited by their new Windows Vista computers? I sure haven’t seen much “wow” even though the ads all tell us the wow is there.

    Google has a good brand name cause it’s the best search service out there and demonstratably so for most searches (I keep checking the competitors, and they don’t measure up).

    But, does a good brand in one place transfer over to a piece of crud? I don’t think so. The word-of-mouth networks are so efficient today that it’ll get pointed out as a piece of crud that’s to be avoided.

  63. #45: but do they like it? Do they tell their friends “this is the best way to run the Web?” Or do they do it cause they don’t know any better and the geek in their family/neighborhood set it up that way three years ago when they bought their last computer?

  64. #45: but do they like it? Do they tell their friends “this is the best way to run the Web?” Or do they do it cause they don’t know any better and the geek in their family/neighborhood set it up that way three years ago when they bought their last computer?

  65. [...] a bit guilty about adding some slightly off-topic comments to Robert Scoble’s post today on Windows Live Local.I tried to argue that the Windows brand is still relevant and Robert argued back that he thinks [...]

  66. only partly true. few things:
    - The geeks make these things popular and the geeks have just stopped thinking of microsoft as cool. Google is cool, microsoft is evil and ugly and all the uncool things. small things like embracing firefox can go a long way in making up with the geeks. its like make friends with the croc when you stand in water.
    - When it comes to internet, the Microsoft marketing machine has failed as much as their engineering has at search. Microsoft has failed to brand itself in a more 2.0 ish way, whatever that means. but people know.
    - google announces a new product (however useful/useless) every now and then and made quite a splash with youtube, microsoft is slowww!!

  67. only partly true. few things:
    - The geeks make these things popular and the geeks have just stopped thinking of microsoft as cool. Google is cool, microsoft is evil and ugly and all the uncool things. small things like embracing firefox can go a long way in making up with the geeks. its like make friends with the croc when you stand in water.
    - When it comes to internet, the Microsoft marketing machine has failed as much as their engineering has at search. Microsoft has failed to brand itself in a more 2.0 ish way, whatever that means. but people know.
    - google announces a new product (however useful/useless) every now and then and made quite a splash with youtube, microsoft is slowww!!

  68. “When has Microsoft ever tried to make the UI simpler while still providing solid functionality?”

    LOL, have you not seen Office 2007? I have never seen a better UI – it’s a revolution.

    I use Office 2007 regularly. The first thing I do is collapse the ribbon to regain that inch or so of writing space. As well, that UI is not *simpler*, it’s just more in your face. I think they did a good job with it, but in a way, it’s worse than 2003. In 2003, I could, with some work mind you, pare back the menus and toolbars until I had the perfect setup for me.

    In 2007, I can’t do that without a rather significant bit of XML work. As in a shit-ton. I’m glad that they made the features more discoverable, but now the damned thing is more binary. Everything or nothing. The big round button in the left corner is non-obvious, and rather silly too. The Ribbon is also predicated on you running every window maximized. If you don’t, it’s not nearly as cool.

    Even worse, the UI is inconsistent across the suite. Some applications use it, some don’t. Hell, in Outlook 2007, you sometimes see the ribbon, (contact editing), you sometimes don’t.

    So now you can’t even rely on what your UI will look like in what is essentially one product, Office 2007.

    Nigh – random UI changes is not the way to ease of use.

    PS. Which brand is the brand that the vast majority of people in the world are using/experiencing when they surf the Web every day? Windows. And IE.

    Then why are my windows – loving compatriots at work so happy that we can finally really dump IE for Firefox?

  69. “When has Microsoft ever tried to make the UI simpler while still providing solid functionality?”

    LOL, have you not seen Office 2007? I have never seen a better UI – it’s a revolution.

    I use Office 2007 regularly. The first thing I do is collapse the ribbon to regain that inch or so of writing space. As well, that UI is not *simpler*, it’s just more in your face. I think they did a good job with it, but in a way, it’s worse than 2003. In 2003, I could, with some work mind you, pare back the menus and toolbars until I had the perfect setup for me.

    In 2007, I can’t do that without a rather significant bit of XML work. As in a shit-ton. I’m glad that they made the features more discoverable, but now the damned thing is more binary. Everything or nothing. The big round button in the left corner is non-obvious, and rather silly too. The Ribbon is also predicated on you running every window maximized. If you don’t, it’s not nearly as cool.

    Even worse, the UI is inconsistent across the suite. Some applications use it, some don’t. Hell, in Outlook 2007, you sometimes see the ribbon, (contact editing), you sometimes don’t.

    So now you can’t even rely on what your UI will look like in what is essentially one product, Office 2007.

    Nigh – random UI changes is not the way to ease of use.

    PS. Which brand is the brand that the vast majority of people in the world are using/experiencing when they surf the Web every day? Windows. And IE.

    Then why are my windows – loving compatriots at work so happy that we can finally really dump IE for Firefox?

  70. I think it’s a common thing accross Microsoft to take something that should be simple and mess it up. Even down to their API level stuff. COM and DLL-Hell. It’s all aweful. Sometimes one gets the feeling that they think they are so smart…. too much so for their own (and everyone else’s) good.

  71. I think it’s a common thing accross Microsoft to take something that should be simple and mess it up. Even down to their API level stuff. COM and DLL-Hell. It’s all aweful. Sometimes one gets the feeling that they think they are so smart…. too much so for their own (and everyone else’s) good.

  72. @41. Scoble, as a guy with an eponymous brand–and a high value one, to boot, you shock me by saying brand doesn’t mean shit. I agree that, ultimately, it’s who has the best service. But you started this thread with why doesn’t “Microsoft Maps get the Hype?” And brand is essential to that. Long before the evals are done, the reviews written, and the heartflet WOM recommendations circulated, comes the buzz. And one of the cheapest ways to start some buzz is with a brand that people look forward to hearing from.

    The Apple brand and the Steve Jobs Keynote brand are worth tens (if not hundreds) of millions of marketing dollars in launching a new product.

    Here’s how brand works: Brand is just a container that holds what people expect from a provider. Future expectation depend a lot on past delivery. (Ze, in his The Show about the football head guy who tried to attach himself to the Jon Benet Ramsey brand said: “a brand is an emotional aftertaste that’s conjured up by, but not necessarily dependent on a series of experiences.” Right he was, but he didn’t take it to its commercial value: people will impute goodness to a new product from a great brand until proven otherwise.

    Even on the Internet. On the Internet, however, proving otherwise can happen very quickly–as you say @46.

    It’s not just brand reputation and brand promise, but also brand coherence. Try this, Google “Microsoft Maps” and then “Google Maps.” Microsoft turns out to be (may I say it?) all over the map in their branding.

    It takes a great deal of voodoo and insight to successfully extend a brand to cover new kinds of functionality. Sometimes a brand extension works, sometimes not. The results are not always predictable by everyone. I remember Dave Winer saying back in 1998 “As an Amazon fan and customer, I strongly advise them to read Marketing Warfare by Ries & Trout. Line extension is killing their brand. If they want to sell audio CDs, start a new brand.” Turns out that Amazon successfully negotiated the journey from “books online” to “Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more”

  73. @41. Scoble, as a guy with an eponymous brand–and a high value one, to boot, you shock me by saying brand doesn’t mean shit. I agree that, ultimately, it’s who has the best service. But you started this thread with why doesn’t “Microsoft Maps get the Hype?” And brand is essential to that. Long before the evals are done, the reviews written, and the heartflet WOM recommendations circulated, comes the buzz. And one of the cheapest ways to start some buzz is with a brand that people look forward to hearing from.

    The Apple brand and the Steve Jobs Keynote brand are worth tens (if not hundreds) of millions of marketing dollars in launching a new product.

    Here’s how brand works: Brand is just a container that holds what people expect from a provider. Future expectation depend a lot on past delivery. (Ze, in his The Show about the football head guy who tried to attach himself to the Jon Benet Ramsey brand said: “a brand is an emotional aftertaste that’s conjured up by, but not necessarily dependent on a series of experiences.” Right he was, but he didn’t take it to its commercial value: people will impute goodness to a new product from a great brand until proven otherwise.

    Even on the Internet. On the Internet, however, proving otherwise can happen very quickly–as you say @46.

    It’s not just brand reputation and brand promise, but also brand coherence. Try this, Google “Microsoft Maps” and then “Google Maps.” Microsoft turns out to be (may I say it?) all over the map in their branding.

    It takes a great deal of voodoo and insight to successfully extend a brand to cover new kinds of functionality. Sometimes a brand extension works, sometimes not. The results are not always predictable by everyone. I remember Dave Winer saying back in 1998 “As an Amazon fan and customer, I strongly advise them to read Marketing Warfare by Ries & Trout. Line extension is killing their brand. If they want to sell audio CDs, start a new brand.” Turns out that Amazon successfully negotiated the journey from “books online” to “Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more”

  74. Their satellite photo is over 6 years old based on the buildings in our area! Google’s is up to date.

  75. Their satellite photo is over 6 years old based on the buildings in our area! Google’s is up to date.

  76. Brand is worthless without results. Ask Apple in the mid to late 90s what their brand was worth without solid product to back it up.

    Microsoft is just messing up everywhere.

  77. Brand is worthless without results. Ask Apple in the mid to late 90s what their brand was worth without solid product to back it up.

    Microsoft is just messing up everywhere.

  78. “When has Microsoft ever tried to make the UI simpler while still providing solid functionality?”

    Office 2k7?
    Took me all of 0.2 seconds to think of that.
    Try harder next time, Welch.

  79. “When has Microsoft ever tried to make the UI simpler while still providing solid functionality?”

    Office 2k7?
    Took me all of 0.2 seconds to think of that.
    Try harder next time, Welch.

  80. @Steve Lombardi:

    “Collections have become one of the most popular features at Live Search Maps”

    I go to http://collections.live.com and I see:

    To Do (22)
    To Watch (34)
    Tourist Guides (1)
    Asia (2)
    Australia (3)
    Europe (26)
    US and North America (41)
    Food and Drink (25)
    Geography (12)
    History (11)
    The Arts (15)

    Do you consider 192 collections (if I counted right) after almost a year a success?

  81. @Steve Lombardi:

    “Collections have become one of the most popular features at Live Search Maps”

    I go to http://collections.live.com and I see:

    To Do (22)
    To Watch (34)
    Tourist Guides (1)
    Asia (2)
    Australia (3)
    Europe (26)
    US and North America (41)
    Food and Drink (25)
    Geography (12)
    History (11)
    The Arts (15)

    Do you consider 192 collections (if I counted right) after almost a year a success?

  82. I’ve yet to get MSMaps to give me a valid map. I’ve checked the help sections, they were not helpful. A side by side comparison between Google and MS finding my childhood home was a good example. Google had it spot on, satellite images indicated it was dead center on the roof of the house. MSMaps ended up to the south several hundred yards in an artificial pond. Timing it with my iPod it took nearly 4 times as long for each page to load from MSMaps too! And I know it’s just a visual thing, but the maps MSMaps make really look terrible, where is the antialiasing?

  83. I’ve yet to get MSMaps to give me a valid map. I’ve checked the help sections, they were not helpful. A side by side comparison between Google and MS finding my childhood home was a good example. Google had it spot on, satellite images indicated it was dead center on the roof of the house. MSMaps ended up to the south several hundred yards in an artificial pond. Timing it with my iPod it took nearly 4 times as long for each page to load from MSMaps too! And I know it’s just a visual thing, but the maps MSMaps make really look terrible, where is the antialiasing?

  84. “Brand doesn’t mean shit anymore. It’s who has the best service. Period.”

    LOLOLOL
    Google Maps may be better than Microsoft Maps (I wouldn’t know, I use neither service), but the assertion that “brand name is irrelevant, period” is utter bullshit.

  85. “Brand doesn’t mean shit anymore. It’s who has the best service. Period.”

    LOLOLOL
    Google Maps may be better than Microsoft Maps (I wouldn’t know, I use neither service), but the assertion that “brand name is irrelevant, period” is utter bullshit.

  86. @Darren: I appreciate the effort, and I’ll check back in the summer. However, June is 2 months away – in the meanwhile, given that I’m the alpha-geek in my (mostly Windows-using) circle, when friends and family want me to map something for them, I’m using Google maps. Which means my friends and family will be using Google maps, and they’ll show *their* friends Google maps.

    The frustrating thing for me is that VE worked just fine under Safari before it got absorbed into the Live family…

    Thanks for the response.

  87. @Darren: I appreciate the effort, and I’ll check back in the summer. However, June is 2 months away – in the meanwhile, given that I’m the alpha-geek in my (mostly Windows-using) circle, when friends and family want me to map something for them, I’m using Google maps. Which means my friends and family will be using Google maps, and they’ll show *their* friends Google maps.

    The frustrating thing for me is that VE worked just fine under Safari before it got absorbed into the Live family…

    Thanks for the response.

  88. @17 “I think if somebody like Robert Scoble has problems navigating around the Live/Live Local interface, then what hope would my mother have of getting traffic reports, setting up collections, etc.”

    Well, given the Scoble couldn’t figure out how to close Joost or how to get Google to display in English when in a foreign country, I’m not sure he’s a good model for usability testing ;-)

  89. @17 “I think if somebody like Robert Scoble has problems navigating around the Live/Live Local interface, then what hope would my mother have of getting traffic reports, setting up collections, etc.”

    Well, given the Scoble couldn’t figure out how to close Joost or how to get Google to display in English when in a foreign country, I’m not sure he’s a good model for usability testing ;-)

  90. “Brand doesn’t mean shit anymore. It’s who has the best service. Period.”

    Really? You seriously believe this? You think XBOX would have succeeded if it had the Microsoft or Windows brand directly associated with it? Why do you think there are XBOX, PSx, Apple fan boys?

    Seriously? You mean to tell me that if I told you a product came from either Apple or Google, without telling you what it was, you wouldn’t want to look at it over say a something from Habablab Tech? To be clear, I didn’t tell you what the product was, but simply gave you the name of the company that produced it, you wouldn’t care if it came from Google or Apple, vs. say Habablab or Vandalay Industries?

  91. “Brand doesn’t mean shit anymore. It’s who has the best service. Period.”

    Really? You seriously believe this? You think XBOX would have succeeded if it had the Microsoft or Windows brand directly associated with it? Why do you think there are XBOX, PSx, Apple fan boys?

    Seriously? You mean to tell me that if I told you a product came from either Apple or Google, without telling you what it was, you wouldn’t want to look at it over say a something from Habablab Tech? To be clear, I didn’t tell you what the product was, but simply gave you the name of the company that produced it, you wouldn’t care if it came from Google or Apple, vs. say Habablab or Vandalay Industries?

  92. @56 “I go to http://collections.live.com and I see:”

    OH! So THAT’s how I get to collections? I mean, it was so damned intuitive when looking at local.live.com (and I know I think “MAPS” when I look at that URL, let me tell you!)

    Scoble, you are right about the user experience in MS Maps (how hard would it have been to call it that, Mr. Lombardi?). While the product has some cool features..they are pretty much undiscoverable.

  93. @56 “I go to http://collections.live.com and I see:”

    OH! So THAT’s how I get to collections? I mean, it was so damned intuitive when looking at local.live.com (and I know I think “MAPS” when I look at that URL, let me tell you!)

    Scoble, you are right about the user experience in MS Maps (how hard would it have been to call it that, Mr. Lombardi?). While the product has some cool features..they are pretty much undiscoverable.

  94. Personally I don’t find MS Maps to be all that difficult to work with.

    I’m sorry but how do yo folks that find this interface hard and confusing, even manage to use a computer at all?

    Sure there are two search boxes, um so what, they clearly tell you exactly what type of search criteria should go into each one.

    There are two columns, Left column (pretty standard website design concept) which contains some useful information like a link to a tour, popular searches etc. It even says “Welcome” as in hey start here if you are not sure what to do.

    Right column (Its the one with the huge map in it) also pretty standard format.

    Directly above the map is a navigation bar (similar to what you would find on probably 98% of websites that exist today. Each menu item is pretty clear, Collections is the only one that seems a bit un-clear but as soon as you roll over it (you know it has a dropdown because of the little down arrow) it is then pretty clear as to what it is.

    Other than that the other menu items make total sense, it’s a pretty basic menu, the largest dropdown only has 4 sub items, pretty minimal compared to a lot of websites or applications for that matter.

    Personally I never found “Collections” to be confusing, seems pretty straight forward (Open, New, Add Pushpin and Favorites” pretty common words to me.

    If you add a new collection there are 3 textboxes you can fill out and 2 check boxes you can check, “Un-intuative”?? seriously? How do manage to do your taxes, or order food at a resturant?

    As far as features go, I totally agree MS is winning. Just the fact that you have a quick link on your pushpin to zoom in to City, Street or region is the best feature ever, I messed with Google Maps for a while and couldn’t ever figure out if there was a way to do so with a simple click of the mouse.

    Also the “Send in email” feature just seems like something obvious Google needs.

    The maps themselves, top left corner, pretty basic easy to understand control interface, similar to googles, so should be easy to use.

    The map itself also work simlar to Googles so that shouldn’t be an issue.

    I’m a bit confused about people liking googles aerial maps more than MS Maps, I have looked at quite a few locations on both maps and they have the exact same photo, the cars are in the exact same place. How can one aerial photograph on one map be better than the other when they use the same images? Granted I’m sure some are updated more often than the others.

    Somone had also mentioned that google has good marketing and is cool looking, have you looked at their logo? It’s one of the worst logos ever designed, it goes against every design theory out there for making a logo.

    And I can’t ever recall seening “marketing” done by google, never ever. It’s pretty amazing how successful they are.

    Don’t get me wrong I use google all the time, search and images mostly, other than that I find their other applications quite lacking for the kind of programmers they have working there.

    Sorry for the long rant, I just wanted to explain why I’m confused at all the comments saying that the site is hard to use. C’mon if you really read what things say, and explore a bit, it’s pretty obvious and simple.

    I’m guessing a lot of you have been to: http://www.neowin.net/ for instance.
    Just look at how much stuff is on this page, is it hard to use and stress you out enough not to use it? I doubt it, it’s all a matter of taking the time and using it and using your brain.

  95. Personally I don’t find MS Maps to be all that difficult to work with.

    I’m sorry but how do yo folks that find this interface hard and confusing, even manage to use a computer at all?

    Sure there are two search boxes, um so what, they clearly tell you exactly what type of search criteria should go into each one.

    There are two columns, Left column (pretty standard website design concept) which contains some useful information like a link to a tour, popular searches etc. It even says “Welcome” as in hey start here if you are not sure what to do.

    Right column (Its the one with the huge map in it) also pretty standard format.

    Directly above the map is a navigation bar (similar to what you would find on probably 98% of websites that exist today. Each menu item is pretty clear, Collections is the only one that seems a bit un-clear but as soon as you roll over it (you know it has a dropdown because of the little down arrow) it is then pretty clear as to what it is.

    Other than that the other menu items make total sense, it’s a pretty basic menu, the largest dropdown only has 4 sub items, pretty minimal compared to a lot of websites or applications for that matter.

    Personally I never found “Collections” to be confusing, seems pretty straight forward (Open, New, Add Pushpin and Favorites” pretty common words to me.

    If you add a new collection there are 3 textboxes you can fill out and 2 check boxes you can check, “Un-intuative”?? seriously? How do manage to do your taxes, or order food at a resturant?

    As far as features go, I totally agree MS is winning. Just the fact that you have a quick link on your pushpin to zoom in to City, Street or region is the best feature ever, I messed with Google Maps for a while and couldn’t ever figure out if there was a way to do so with a simple click of the mouse.

    Also the “Send in email” feature just seems like something obvious Google needs.

    The maps themselves, top left corner, pretty basic easy to understand control interface, similar to googles, so should be easy to use.

    The map itself also work simlar to Googles so that shouldn’t be an issue.

    I’m a bit confused about people liking googles aerial maps more than MS Maps, I have looked at quite a few locations on both maps and they have the exact same photo, the cars are in the exact same place. How can one aerial photograph on one map be better than the other when they use the same images? Granted I’m sure some are updated more often than the others.

    Somone had also mentioned that google has good marketing and is cool looking, have you looked at their logo? It’s one of the worst logos ever designed, it goes against every design theory out there for making a logo.

    And I can’t ever recall seening “marketing” done by google, never ever. It’s pretty amazing how successful they are.

    Don’t get me wrong I use google all the time, search and images mostly, other than that I find their other applications quite lacking for the kind of programmers they have working there.

    Sorry for the long rant, I just wanted to explain why I’m confused at all the comments saying that the site is hard to use. C’mon if you really read what things say, and explore a bit, it’s pretty obvious and simple.

    I’m guessing a lot of you have been to: http://www.neowin.net/ for instance.
    Just look at how much stuff is on this page, is it hard to use and stress you out enough not to use it? I doubt it, it’s all a matter of taking the time and using it and using your brain.

  96. well, i for one love local maps. If only because of the annotation i can do right in my browser works like a charm – although there were no safari / firefox support for said annotation last time i checked.

    functionality-wise the product is no harder to figure out than google maps, but the real killer is speed. The same thing that kills live local search kills their maps too. The servers / bandwidth just cannot match google’s

  97. well, i for one love local maps. If only because of the annotation i can do right in my browser works like a charm – although there were no safari / firefox support for said annotation last time i checked.

    functionality-wise the product is no harder to figure out than google maps, but the real killer is speed. The same thing that kills live local search kills their maps too. The servers / bandwidth just cannot match google’s

  98. Micah: sorry, you aren’t convincing anyone.

    Everyone else: my point about branding was stupid and I retract it. Of course brand means a lot.

    But, what is brand? It’s a promise built on past results. How do you get a good brand? Build a great product everytime.

    How do you get a bad brand? Build a bad one over and over.

  99. Micah: sorry, you aren’t convincing anyone.

    Everyone else: my point about branding was stupid and I retract it. Of course brand means a lot.

    But, what is brand? It’s a promise built on past results. How do you get a good brand? Build a great product everytime.

    How do you get a bad brand? Build a bad one over and over.

  100. Microsoft’s map problems go way back — back to MapPoint 2001. It covers USA and Canada; I live in Canada.

    Select Canada from the overview map, and then type in an address with street name, city, and province. MapPoint reports it cannot find that street/city/province in the USA.

    But that’s typical of Microsoft products: the inability to do fundamental operations. Windows can’t do basic functions like rename an entire folder of file names; Word doesn’t handle line spacing correctly; etc.

  101. Microsoft’s map problems go way back — back to MapPoint 2001. It covers USA and Canada; I live in Canada.

    Select Canada from the overview map, and then type in an address with street name, city, and province. MapPoint reports it cannot find that street/city/province in the USA.

    But that’s typical of Microsoft products: the inability to do fundamental operations. Windows can’t do basic functions like rename an entire folder of file names; Word doesn’t handle line spacing correctly; etc.

  102. Simple – because the ms stuff does not work in firefox, googlemaps work in Firefox and ie.

    Robert Not everybody uses ie, or has users that use ie. Thus google maps is the thing i have to use being that i cannot get ie to run in Linux (a mercy i do think).

    So as a map maker – I can’t use it, and to force my users to use ie sucks – imagine if you where buying a product and the browser told to logout, open a new browser, fire up the site, relogin and start again.

    If ms don’t wish to make there stuff compatible that is not my problem.

  103. Simple – because the ms stuff does not work in firefox, googlemaps work in Firefox and ie.

    Robert Not everybody uses ie, or has users that use ie. Thus google maps is the thing i have to use being that i cannot get ie to run in Linux (a mercy i do think).

    So as a map maker – I can’t use it, and to force my users to use ie sucks – imagine if you where buying a product and the browser told to logout, open a new browser, fire up the site, relogin and start again.

    If ms don’t wish to make there stuff compatible that is not my problem.

  104. Robert, when is the last time that the early adopter community really went crazy for a Microsoft product? It just seems like Microsoft has a problem generating that excitement.

    An aside… could you thread your comments? Its really hard to process a long list of 70+ comments.

  105. Robert, when is the last time that the early adopter community really went crazy for a Microsoft product? It just seems like Microsoft has a problem generating that excitement.

    An aside… could you thread your comments? Its really hard to process a long list of 70+ comments.

  106. I completely agree with Peter, Google Maps utterly sucks the sweat off a dead man’s balls compared to Live Local. You have a point about the search boxes and TMI, but driving directions and collections are incredibly useful. The inability to add even a basic marker to Google Maps made me toss out the bookmarks months ago.

  107. I completely agree with Peter, Google Maps utterly sucks the sweat off a dead man’s balls compared to Live Local. You have a point about the search boxes and TMI, but driving directions and collections are incredibly useful. The inability to add even a basic marker to Google Maps made me toss out the bookmarks months ago.

  108. @67 “But, what is brand? It’s a promise built on past results. How do you get a good brand? Build a great product everytime.”

    No, you only need to build a good product every so often. Once your brand name gets established you can suffer some crappy products because people trust your brand. I mean look, for example you own a Sony…you own a Saturn. Not saying the Aura sucks, but for the past few years the quality of cars Saturn turned out didn’t match their brand reputation. Thus, I’m sure brand had something to do with those purchases regardless of the past quality of the product

  109. @67 “But, what is brand? It’s a promise built on past results. How do you get a good brand? Build a great product everytime.”

    No, you only need to build a good product every so often. Once your brand name gets established you can suffer some crappy products because people trust your brand. I mean look, for example you own a Sony…you own a Saturn. Not saying the Aura sucks, but for the past few years the quality of cars Saturn turned out didn’t match their brand reputation. Thus, I’m sure brand had something to do with those purchases regardless of the past quality of the product

  110. I used to use Google Maps, then switched to Live Maps. I liked that the business listings updated as I moved around, the use of the full browser window, the colors and fonts, and overall look and feel. Live Maps was better for just about everything I wanted than Google Maps.

    But I switched back. Mysteriously, their service stopped working on the Camino browser, even though Camino uses the same rendering engine as Firefox. Yes, they’re blocking based on user agent instead of on Javascript features! So now my favorite map site is unuable in my favorite browser, not because the browser can’t support it, but because Microsoft added special code to prevent me from using it.

    I would’ve left them feedback on the Live blog, but they won’t let me comment unless I create an account of some sort. Another obstacle. So I didn’t comment, and I’ve switched back to Google Maps. It just works.

  111. I used to use Google Maps, then switched to Live Maps. I liked that the business listings updated as I moved around, the use of the full browser window, the colors and fonts, and overall look and feel. Live Maps was better for just about everything I wanted than Google Maps.

    But I switched back. Mysteriously, their service stopped working on the Camino browser, even though Camino uses the same rendering engine as Firefox. Yes, they’re blocking based on user agent instead of on Javascript features! So now my favorite map site is unuable in my favorite browser, not because the browser can’t support it, but because Microsoft added special code to prevent me from using it.

    I would’ve left them feedback on the Live blog, but they won’t let me comment unless I create an account of some sort. Another obstacle. So I didn’t comment, and I’ve switched back to Google Maps. It just works.

  112. #71: When Halo 2 came out there were lines of hundreds of people waiting in stores around the world, including in Silicon Valley. That’s a Microsoft product. So, it is possible for Microsoft to get lots of early adopter and influential types very excited. It just doesn’t happen that often — at least not often enough for a company with the kinds of advantages that Microsoft has.

  113. #71: When Halo 2 came out there were lines of hundreds of people waiting in stores around the world, including in Silicon Valley. That’s a Microsoft product. So, it is possible for Microsoft to get lots of early adopter and influential types very excited. It just doesn’t happen that often — at least not often enough for a company with the kinds of advantages that Microsoft has.

  114. @Scoble – You’re right on virtually all fronts in your post. I don’t think I got the items you mentioned wrong, I just didn’t focus on them. I agree with you on the usability issues. I give Google full kudos for “one-upping” the game with a better user experience in myMaps then Collections. It’s absolutely simpler, more discoverable, and more polished.

    The feedback you just provided in your post is priceless. It’s exactly what the folks who make Live Maps need to see so that they know how they should improve their product. (FWIW, I’ve experienced some of the same issues too!)

    But here’s the rub… and this is a chicken and egg problem. If people don’t know that Live Maps exists in the first place, they’ll never use it. If they’re not using it, then they can’t provide the crucial feedback needed to the product team to improve it. A lot of the reaction to Google’s myMaps was “This is cool because it’s a new feature that no one has seen before.” And that was my point in the post, LM has had collections for some time now, but no one knew about it.

    Thanks to your post for bringing attention to the usability issues. If, as a result of either of our posts, people try out LM collections and raise that same feedback to the product team, then I think we accomplished something here. Steve from the product team already commented earlier that he’s listening. That’s cool!
    -Peter (aka JrzyShr Dev Guy)

  115. @Scoble – You’re right on virtually all fronts in your post. I don’t think I got the items you mentioned wrong, I just didn’t focus on them. I agree with you on the usability issues. I give Google full kudos for “one-upping” the game with a better user experience in myMaps then Collections. It’s absolutely simpler, more discoverable, and more polished.

    The feedback you just provided in your post is priceless. It’s exactly what the folks who make Live Maps need to see so that they know how they should improve their product. (FWIW, I’ve experienced some of the same issues too!)

    But here’s the rub… and this is a chicken and egg problem. If people don’t know that Live Maps exists in the first place, they’ll never use it. If they’re not using it, then they can’t provide the crucial feedback needed to the product team to improve it. A lot of the reaction to Google’s myMaps was “This is cool because it’s a new feature that no one has seen before.” And that was my point in the post, LM has had collections for some time now, but no one knew about it.

    Thanks to your post for bringing attention to the usability issues. If, as a result of either of our posts, people try out LM collections and raise that same feedback to the product team, then I think we accomplished something here. Steve from the product team already commented earlier that he’s listening. That’s cool!
    -Peter (aka JrzyShr Dev Guy)

  116. Peter, yup, but Microsoft has the money to fund some really great user testing sessions. I’ll try to point out other things they do well (I usually put a lot of the Virtual Earth’s blog stuff on my link blog, by the way).

  117. Peter, yup, but Microsoft has the money to fund some really great user testing sessions. I’ll try to point out other things they do well (I usually put a lot of the Virtual Earth’s blog stuff on my link blog, by the way).

  118. “And Google has two tabs up top: 1) Search Results 2) My Maps.

    Microsoft, on the other hand, has 1) Welcome 2) Collections 3) Driving directions 4) Traffic 5) Locate me 6) Share 7) Print”

    FOR SOME REASON YOU HAVE OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT GOOGLE MAPS HAS JUST ABOUT THE SAME LAYOUT AS LOCAL LIVE. AND GOOGLE TABS ARE AS FOLLOWS 1) SEARCH RESULTS 2) MY MAPS 3) TRAFFIC 4)MAP 5)SATELLITE 6) HYBRID 7)SEARCH THE MAP 8)FIND BUSINESSES 9)GET DIRECTIONS. THE SEARCH BOX IS BUILT UP WITH 5 AJAX BOXES THAT CHANGE WHEN CLICK UPON (7)SEARCH THE MAP 8)FIND BUSINESSES 9)GET DIRECTIONS).

    PS DID YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU WERE SIGN IN WHILE USING LOCAL LIVE.

    THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE ABOUT GOOGLE BLOG FANBOYS THEN FEATURE SETS AND UI.

  119. “And Google has two tabs up top: 1) Search Results 2) My Maps.

    Microsoft, on the other hand, has 1) Welcome 2) Collections 3) Driving directions 4) Traffic 5) Locate me 6) Share 7) Print”

    FOR SOME REASON YOU HAVE OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT GOOGLE MAPS HAS JUST ABOUT THE SAME LAYOUT AS LOCAL LIVE. AND GOOGLE TABS ARE AS FOLLOWS 1) SEARCH RESULTS 2) MY MAPS 3) TRAFFIC 4)MAP 5)SATELLITE 6) HYBRID 7)SEARCH THE MAP 8)FIND BUSINESSES 9)GET DIRECTIONS. THE SEARCH BOX IS BUILT UP WITH 5 AJAX BOXES THAT CHANGE WHEN CLICK UPON (7)SEARCH THE MAP 8)FIND BUSINESSES 9)GET DIRECTIONS).

    PS DID YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU WERE SIGN IN WHILE USING LOCAL LIVE.

    THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE ABOUT GOOGLE BLOG FANBOYS THEN FEATURE SETS AND UI.

  120. Alijah: the fact that you leave the caps lock key on demonstrates that you probably love hard to use interfaces too.

    If you think Google and Virtual Earth have the same layouts then you aren’t looking hard enough.

  121. Alijah: the fact that you leave the caps lock key on demonstrates that you probably love hard to use interfaces too.

    If you think Google and Virtual Earth have the same layouts then you aren’t looking hard enough.

  122. I said this when Virtual Earth came out and it’s still true… Microsoft’s maps suck because they are old and are in black and white. Over 90% of the US is black and white once you get to within 1 mile. The world is bigger than Redmond, Washington. Useless. Google Maps has quality control and that’s why people like it better.

  123. I said this when Virtual Earth came out and it’s still true… Microsoft’s maps suck because they are old and are in black and white. Over 90% of the US is black and white once you get to within 1 mile. The world is bigger than Redmond, Washington. Useless. Google Maps has quality control and that’s why people like it better.

  124. “When has Microsoft ever tried to make the UI simpler while still providing solid functionality?”

    Office 2k7?
    Took me all of 0.2 seconds to think of that.
    Try harder next time, Welch.

    Snerk. YOu have a very funny definition of “simpler”. “More obvious” and “Simpler” are not the same things. That would be why they are different words

    PS DID YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU WERE SIGN IN WHILE USING LOCAL LIVE.

    FISHSTICKS!!!!!!

  125. “When has Microsoft ever tried to make the UI simpler while still providing solid functionality?”

    Office 2k7?
    Took me all of 0.2 seconds to think of that.
    Try harder next time, Welch.

    Snerk. YOu have a very funny definition of “simpler”. “More obvious” and “Simpler” are not the same things. That would be why they are different words

    PS DID YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU WERE SIGN IN WHILE USING LOCAL LIVE.

    FISHSTICKS!!!!!!

  126. No you are blind. you mention nothing of the other tabs on googles page layout and making it seem as if local live collections is broke absolutly false.
    Its sad when you are not telling the real fact that google has copied (and improved) every last feature that virtual earth team has every came up with. Starting with the Hybrid button that was first seen during your own recording with the team during you days at channel 9. But did you point the finger no you let the fanboys parade as if it was there own. I remember how ecstatic your were to see this feature for the first time. But really to address cap locks instead of seeing where you are wrong at is so very child like of you John C Welch must be rubbing off on you.

    ps there nothing wrong with cap locks if there is one were is keyboard 2.0 at.
    thanks and god bless you

  127. No you are blind. you mention nothing of the other tabs on googles page layout and making it seem as if local live collections is broke absolutly false.
    Its sad when you are not telling the real fact that google has copied (and improved) every last feature that virtual earth team has every came up with. Starting with the Hybrid button that was first seen during your own recording with the team during you days at channel 9. But did you point the finger no you let the fanboys parade as if it was there own. I remember how ecstatic your were to see this feature for the first time. But really to address cap locks instead of seeing where you are wrong at is so very child like of you John C Welch must be rubbing off on you.

    ps there nothing wrong with cap locks if there is one were is keyboard 2.0 at.
    thanks and god bless you

  128. “Micah: sorry, you aren’t convincing anyone.”

    Wait, that’s your entire response to all the points Micah made? Sorry, Scoble, but that response brings to mind the scene in Planet of the Apes, where the simian judges place their hands over their eyes and ears because they don’t even want to *hear* any opposing argument. What the hell is the use of responding to your posts if you just dismiss them with “Sorry, you’re not convincing anyone” without even bothering to address the points made?

    You have your head so far up Google’s posterior that you can hardly think straight. The reason one of the posters above used Caps-Lock is that it seems to be the only way to get anything through your thick skull.

  129. “Micah: sorry, you aren’t convincing anyone.”

    Wait, that’s your entire response to all the points Micah made? Sorry, Scoble, but that response brings to mind the scene in Planet of the Apes, where the simian judges place their hands over their eyes and ears because they don’t even want to *hear* any opposing argument. What the hell is the use of responding to your posts if you just dismiss them with “Sorry, you’re not convincing anyone” without even bothering to address the points made?

    You have your head so far up Google’s posterior that you can hardly think straight. The reason one of the posters above used Caps-Lock is that it seems to be the only way to get anything through your thick skull.

  130. Welch, you’re a joke. If Apple had come up with the Office 2007 interface, you’d be praising it to the high heavens. Tell me if I’m wrong (but be honses with yourself first).

  131. Welch, you’re a joke. If Apple had come up with the Office 2007 interface, you’d be praising it to the high heavens. Tell me if I’m wrong (but be honses with yourself first).

  132. Mr. Robinson: why don’t you record a video showing me how to save a collection? I just tried it again and can’t figure out how to save one and how to open it up again. Maybe I am an idiot. But no one has taken the time to show me how to do it.

    Until you or Micah demonstrates that to me, then why should I listen to you? I’ve tried it four times so far on two different OS’s and both IE and Firefox. I can’t figure out how to get it to work, while Google’s works much simpler.

  133. Mr. Robinson: why don’t you record a video showing me how to save a collection? I just tried it again and can’t figure out how to save one and how to open it up again. Maybe I am an idiot. But no one has taken the time to show me how to do it.

    Until you or Micah demonstrates that to me, then why should I listen to you? I’ve tried it four times so far on two different OS’s and both IE and Firefox. I can’t figure out how to get it to work, while Google’s works much simpler.

  134. @73. @67. You and Scoble are both right. Think of brand as a bank account. Every good product builds up the brand account. Every bad product is a withdrawal. If your brand equity is very strong, people will sample even shitty products. But at the same time, your equity drops a bit. Or, if you like physics better than accounting, think of a brand as a fly-wheel that stores kinetic energy. Same deal. Enough shitty products and the brand rolls to a dead stop.

  135. @73. @67. You and Scoble are both right. Think of brand as a bank account. Every good product builds up the brand account. Every bad product is a withdrawal. If your brand equity is very strong, people will sample even shitty products. But at the same time, your equity drops a bit. Or, if you like physics better than accounting, think of a brand as a fly-wheel that stores kinetic energy. Same deal. Enough shitty products and the brand rolls to a dead stop.

  136. @71. Halo2 didn’t get lines of early adopters on Microsoft’s brand equity. It earned them with Halo brand equity. (People aren’t going to line up to see Spiderman 3 because it comes from Sony Pictures. They’re going to line up because they like the Spiderman franchise.)

  137. @71. Halo2 didn’t get lines of early adopters on Microsoft’s brand equity. It earned them with Halo brand equity. (People aren’t going to line up to see Spiderman 3 because it comes from Sony Pictures. They’re going to line up because they like the Spiderman franchise.)

  138. I agree with Mr. Robinson, I was suprised at the lack of comments about my post by Scoble.

    I don’t remember every saying I was trying to convince anyone, I was just stating a fact that the site is not that difficult to use if you seriously try and use it like every other site that exists.

    But, Scoble has requested a video on how to save a collection so here is a link (note I am already signed into my Live Account, didn’t want login while taping it) unfortunatly it’s been compressed like crazy, if you have a place I can upload the orginal I’d be happy to do so:
    http://soapbox.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=da515efe-05ba-46f7-96c9-14f1beb8f5fa

    Scoble your site alone as 9 main links on it, not to mention that they are horribly placed for an ease of use factor plus it’s stuffed between a bunch of random stuff that pretty much all blends into each other, your commenting on posts is a nightmare: “paging” it’s a great thing, we’ll like it.

    Obviously you don’t claim to be a great designer or usability expert, but yet it seems if commenting on usability of other sites and saying they do a weak job, should mean your site would at least be a bit better.

    I think it really comes down to branding for Microsoft, I don’t think what they are doing is work, pretty much across the board. I don’t know what they could do to be better unless I worked for them and had all the research and data needed to make an appropriate evaluation as what needs to be done.

  139. I agree with Mr. Robinson, I was suprised at the lack of comments about my post by Scoble.

    I don’t remember every saying I was trying to convince anyone, I was just stating a fact that the site is not that difficult to use if you seriously try and use it like every other site that exists.

    But, Scoble has requested a video on how to save a collection so here is a link (note I am already signed into my Live Account, didn’t want login while taping it) unfortunatly it’s been compressed like crazy, if you have a place I can upload the orginal I’d be happy to do so:
    http://soapbox.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=da515efe-05ba-46f7-96c9-14f1beb8f5fa

    Scoble your site alone as 9 main links on it, not to mention that they are horribly placed for an ease of use factor plus it’s stuffed between a bunch of random stuff that pretty much all blends into each other, your commenting on posts is a nightmare: “paging” it’s a great thing, we’ll like it.

    Obviously you don’t claim to be a great designer or usability expert, but yet it seems if commenting on usability of other sites and saying they do a weak job, should mean your site would at least be a bit better.

    I think it really comes down to branding for Microsoft, I don’t think what they are doing is work, pretty much across the board. I don’t know what they could do to be better unless I worked for them and had all the research and data needed to make an appropriate evaluation as what needs to be done.

  140. Weird. So today saving collections and opening them back up works.

    Oh, I realize why I didn’t see them. It saved them in a down-arrow menu — my birthplace was saved under “Half Moon Bay” for instance. That’s wrong. And makes me feel stupid. Damn, I had no idea that’s where collections were being saved. Google doesn’t use down arrow menus so I always saw what I had saved.

    And, why save collections in a menu called “Scratch pad?” That confused me too.

    Micah, I’ve just decided you’re smarter than me. I’ll stick with Google, thanks.

  141. Weird. So today saving collections and opening them back up works.

    Oh, I realize why I didn’t see them. It saved them in a down-arrow menu — my birthplace was saved under “Half Moon Bay” for instance. That’s wrong. And makes me feel stupid. Damn, I had no idea that’s where collections were being saved. Google doesn’t use down arrow menus so I always saw what I had saved.

    And, why save collections in a menu called “Scratch pad?” That confused me too.

    Micah, I’ve just decided you’re smarter than me. I’ll stick with Google, thanks.

  142. Glad to hear you understand it now!

    To be honest I’m not fully sure why they call it scratch pad, probably because it does more than just collections. Probably because it’s more than just a collections window.

    Thanks for the debate, I think I’ll stick with maps.live.com.

    I guess I like more functionality in the applications I use, which naturally leads to a more hefty interface.

  143. Glad to hear you understand it now!

    To be honest I’m not fully sure why they call it scratch pad, probably because it does more than just collections. Probably because it’s more than just a collections window.

    Thanks for the debate, I think I’ll stick with maps.live.com.

    I guess I like more functionality in the applications I use, which naturally leads to a more hefty interface.

  144. Actually, it has more to do with fandom. People don’t call the shots as they see them. I’ve never heard Robert even so much as mention how much cooler images.live.com is than images.google.com. Never, not once. I could be wrong but I see through a lot of things and most people don’t want to give Microsoft the credit they deserve when they actually do deserve it.

    My 2C

  145. Actually, it has more to do with fandom. People don’t call the shots as they see them. I’ve never heard Robert even so much as mention how much cooler images.live.com is than images.google.com. Never, not once. I could be wrong but I see through a lot of things and most people don’t want to give Microsoft the credit they deserve when they actually do deserve it.

    My 2C

  146. Jason: I talked about Live.com’s Image Search a while back. It is pretty cool.

    But Flickr’s search does a lot better for the times I’ve searched for images.

    I also don’t do many image searches. Thomas Hawk would be a better one to ask about that than me.

  147. Jason: I talked about Live.com’s Image Search a while back. It is pretty cool.

    But Flickr’s search does a lot better for the times I’ve searched for images.

    I also don’t do many image searches. Thomas Hawk would be a better one to ask about that than me.

  148. For instance, go to http://images.live.com and search for “Soccer.” Then go to Flickr and do the same search. Flickr is faster (at least on Firefox on my Mac) and has better quality images (at least to my opinion).

    But, you are right. On this Microsoft is better than Google and does have a better interface.

    Maybe the image search team needs to overhaul the Maps user experience?

  149. For instance, go to http://images.live.com and search for “Soccer.” Then go to Flickr and do the same search. Flickr is faster (at least on Firefox on my Mac) and has better quality images (at least to my opinion).

    But, you are right. On this Microsoft is better than Google and does have a better interface.

    Maybe the image search team needs to overhaul the Maps user experience?

  150. Robert, Flikr does own a lot more cool content than Images.live.com. If you have said that you think live images is better than Google Images then I’m sorry and I have a lot more respect (not that you care) for you.

    About Google maps, Microsoft is doing a lot innovating and I’m glad you pointed out the weak point, the interface. maybe those guys do need to come over and work but it’s an entirely different type of interface.

    Also, if you want hi quality images, please see the drop down on live’s image search. you can search for only images that are the same size as your desktop (looking for wallpaper) I can find all types of images that are 2560×1600. I have about 5 gigs of great things I’ve found on Images.live.com I can search for any resolution of photo I want, 1920×1200 (True HD) is a popular format.

    What I’d like to see is the indexes of all the majors and the interfaces become seperate services. If I like Microsoft’s patented infinite scroll to search google index, I think all consumers would be happy if these different services were seperated. But then we get back to the photobucket-myspace trama.

  151. Robert, Flikr does own a lot more cool content than Images.live.com. If you have said that you think live images is better than Google Images then I’m sorry and I have a lot more respect (not that you care) for you.

    About Google maps, Microsoft is doing a lot innovating and I’m glad you pointed out the weak point, the interface. maybe those guys do need to come over and work but it’s an entirely different type of interface.

    Also, if you want hi quality images, please see the drop down on live’s image search. you can search for only images that are the same size as your desktop (looking for wallpaper) I can find all types of images that are 2560×1600. I have about 5 gigs of great things I’ve found on Images.live.com I can search for any resolution of photo I want, 1920×1200 (True HD) is a popular format.

    What I’d like to see is the indexes of all the majors and the interfaces become seperate services. If I like Microsoft’s patented infinite scroll to search google index, I think all consumers would be happy if these different services were seperated. But then we get back to the photobucket-myspace trama.

  152. I’ve posted follow up comments on the VE blog along with some screenshots and commentary.

    http://virtualearth.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2BBC66E99FDCDB98!8546.entry

    One last comment about Brand vs. Tech. Who is the number one online mapping provider- Google? Microsoft? Yahoo? Not by a long shot. It’s MapQuest. Why? decide for yourself. is their technology way ahead of their competitors? or is it that they have an established and trusted brand that they have built over the past dozen years?

  153. I’ve posted follow up comments on the VE blog along with some screenshots and commentary.

    http://virtualearth.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2BBC66E99FDCDB98!8546.entry

    One last comment about Brand vs. Tech. Who is the number one online mapping provider- Google? Microsoft? Yahoo? Not by a long shot. It’s MapQuest. Why? decide for yourself. is their technology way ahead of their competitors? or is it that they have an established and trusted brand that they have built over the past dozen years?

  154. [...] Why doesn t Microsoft Maps get the hype?First, thanks Leon Atkinson for the compliment Scoble s links are as good as the links that come out of Digg. Anyway, while reading my feeds this morning I found this post by Peter Laudati, who works for Microsoft Virtual Earthscobleizer.com [...]