Microsoft Virtual United States of America

I’ve taken a look a Microsoft’s competitor to Google Maps several times, and each time I’vebeen struck by the incredibly poor coverage of Canada: Not only isthe search completely useless for Canadian addresses (even whenyou’ve very clearly indicated that you’re looking in Canada, whichis odd as they had great data on Canada in ancient MapPointreleases), the hilarity is compounded by the fact that thesatellite imagery stops right at the border. Whether it’s animagery rights issue or not, it is quite contrary to the whole”Earth” thing in the product name. Maybe Microsoft VirtualUnited States of America on Earth is a more accurate name.

Of course Microsoft, being largely an American company, is entirelywithin its rights focusing on the US marketplace, just as I’mentirely within my rights to complain about it. It seems odd thatsomething like satellite imagery has national boundaries, and itseems more likely that some product manager deep within theintestines of Microsoft decided that the hassle and storage ofdealing with Canada wasn’t worth the bother, and thus was it wipedfrom the map. A bit of a foolish decision given that there’s a fairnumber of us, and given that it’s cold most of the year we all tendto have high speed connections and predisposition to spending lotsof time online.