A9 officially launched their local map service last night as described by CNET. The local map service includes the standard map image, but also includes Block View technology that has already been incorporated into the Amazon Yellow Pages service.
"We're helping people find things," he said of the new service. "We're making the map a little less abstract; a little more like reality." - Udi Manbar
I've always found the Satellite images provided by Google and MSN as having more of a cool factor, but not very practical. Seriously, how useful is an image of a building top? I'm going to buy my appliance from Cross Roads Appliance in Bellevue instead of Albert Lee in Seattle because they have a better air conditioning unit installed on the top of their building? No wait...seriously...the top of a building is an important cue for me when I'm trying to locate a store. Come on!
I've heard some rumors about a 45 degree view. That will most likely improve things, but I'm still skeptical. Showing street level photos, a la A9 Block View, is just more useful to folks. Great innovation by the folks at A9.