Mirror Worlds a step closer

Microsoft® Live Search Maps will today begin offering three-dimensional, photo-realistic views of New York City buildings and landscapes, with perspectives that few people — apart from Superman — have ever seen. The free online service will provide a unique look at many of New York’s iconic locations, along with local listings, ratings and reviews and driving directions to help people easily find, discover, plan and share relevant location information that is important to them on the Web.

Microsoft today announced the addition of 3D imagery for new cities within its Live Search Maps offering – a video of New York is available here for those interested. It is still very early days yet in the march towards Mirror Worlds. Microsoft are pursuing a top-down strategy in their creation of a Mirror World built upon its Virtual Earth platform. Google in contrast are pursuing a bottom-up strategy in their creation of a Mirror World built upon its Google Earth platform.

While slower out of the gate with its Sketchup and 3D Warehouse initiative Google’s recent licensing of technology from Stanford University which produces 3D buildings automatically will put it back in the game. Hollywood has finally awoken from its slumber and taken notice of the emergent gaming cultures and industries which are eating its lunch. U2’s recent Cannes appearance is the first of many 3D related film projects in the works.

Early demos of High Definition TV used spectacular ariel shots of the Grand Canyon to promote its superior qualities. While impressive they were very much a passive experience. The arrival of IPTV along with the build out of Mirror Worlds, Virtual Worlds and Social Networks is going to herald a new age of interactive experiences. Players will emerge within this third wave of the web offering life services which will become integral to the Living Web. Time will tell whether Microsoft and Google will be among the winners in delivering these services.

UPDATE : Google Maps launch Street View at Where 2.0 2007