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Seeking to match some of the very impressive high-resolution "birdseye" photography now available through Windows Live Local, Google has improved the resolution on some of its aerial coverage. Here's the latest from the Official Google Blog:

We're always trying to improve the imagery in Google Earth and Google Local, but our latest update is bigger than usual. Not only have we added extensive 6-inch imagery for many parts of the U.K., but we've updated the Google Local database to match the coverage we have in Google Earth, and (drum roll, please) … we've added two more zoom levels in Google Local's Satellite mode! Now for many areas around the world you can see a lot more detail than you could before.

As examples, Google is offering new and improved views of Buckingham Palace, the Statue of Liberty and the Sydney Opera House.

I tried to find the identical landmarks in Windows Live Local to offer a comparison on this post and found it very difficult—it's not a good tool for landmark search. One has to have the address first; but what's the "address" of Buckingham Palace? (It's Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA, of course—not much of an "address.")

I spoke to MapQuest the other day and, to my surprise, they said they were exploring options to offer something "at least as good" as what Microsoft was doing with aerial photography.

All these tools will get better, including landmark search (which isn't that great in Google either).

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