NEWS: Microsoft takes on Google with Virtual Earth
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Thread: NEWS: Microsoft takes on Google with Virtual Earth

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    Registered User TechZ's Avatar
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    NEWS: Microsoft takes on Google with Virtual Earth

    - MSN Virtual Earth (VE homepage), first announced in May, is similar to Google Maps in that it provides both street-map and satellite views of locations and provides driving directions between locations.

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    Geezer confus-ed's Avatar
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    ..Another feature unique to Virtual Earth is the ability to pinpoint the location of a user on a Wi-Fi network by using the Wi-Fi access points nearby, Law said. Through a client application called Microsoft Location Finder that can be downloaded when a user clicks a "Find Me" icon in Virtual Earth, Microsoft accesses the MAC (media access control) addresses of wireless access points that a user's device can reach, whether or not the user is logged in to any of them, he said.

    Microsoft has worked with third parties to assemble a database of router MAC addresses and the latitude and longitude of those access points. Location Finder finds the access points in the database and then triangulates the location of the user's device based on the signal strength of those access points, Law said.

    This location-finding service works best in urban areas where there tend to be a heavier concentrations of wireless routers than in more rural locations, but Microsoft has assembled a fairly comprehensive database of wireless access points throughout the U.S..
    Somebody was commenting on this to me yesterday .. & he observed that this 'neat feature' is in breach of 'loads' of laws here (UK) - when I catch him again, I'll ask which ones, but I can definately see some privacy issues ..

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    Registered User TechZ's Avatar
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    Maybe theyre going to concentrate on public ones only? As they need to compile the DB, and for those who have secured their networks, I suppose nothing to worry about.

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