MSN Continues Investments in Search With the Launch of Local Search

MSN Formally Welcomes Virtual Earth to the MSN Search Team

REDMOND, Wash., June 20 -- MSN released a beta version of a new Local Search service, enabling consumers to quickly retrieve local results from business, residential or local Web sites, often accompanied by informative maps and aerial images. This initial beta release is the first step by MSN® Search toward delivering a broad local search vision, which encompasses geo-local search, mapping technologies, mobile search, local business and residential databases, and local Instant Answers related to news, events, movie times, weather and more.

MSN also announced that the Virtual Earth(TM) team will join MSN Search, bringing over 10 years of mapping and geo-location experience, allowing MSN to provide an immersive experience that enables consumers to search, navigate, explore and discover local information through the next wave of local search technology.

"We are deeply investing in developing world-leading local search services that precisely deliver the local information consumers care about," said Christopher Payne, corporate vice president for MSN Search at Microsoft Corp. "We remain committed to continuously improving our search service, and today's MSN Local Search beta release is just the beginning. With the addition of MSN Virtual Earth, we are poised to take local search to the next level."

MSN Local Search Beta Available Today

Starting today, consumers in the United States will see a new Local category added to the MSN Search options on When consumers search for local information, they will receive results from city- and region-specific White Pages and Yellow Pages directory information. For example, a local search on "auto mechanics" could bring up listings of nearby mechanics, repair shops and towing companies.

Each local search result is shown as a numbered pin on a corresponding map provided through Microsoft® MapPoint® Web Service, and digital aerial images are supplied by TerraServer-USA when available for a given search result. The TerraServer-USA Web site is one of the world's largest online databases, providing access to a vast data store of maps and aerial photographs of the United States. Originating at the Microsoft Bay Area Research Center, TerraServer is operated by Microsoft as a research project for developing advanced database technology.

The new MSN Local Search functionality is an evolution of the Near Me search feature that debuted on MSN Search in February of this year and allowed consumers to receive search results tailored to a geographic location. Those interested in trying the beta of the new offering should visit .

MSN Virtual Earth Joins MSN Search

MSN Virtual Earth, developed by the MapPoint team, will soon offer consumers a deeply immersive local search experience, including the ability to layer multiple search results onto a single map, weather and traffic data, and even aerial photographs of some locations taken at a 45-degree angle from airplanes. Slated to debut later this year, MSN Virtual Earth is designed to enable consumers to answer the question "What's it like there?" The integrated expertise of the MSN Search and MSN Virtual Earth teams will allow for enhanced development efforts and provide greater synergies, because mapping technologies are a strategic cornerstone to the MSN Search vision. Additional technologies and innovations will be introduced later this year.

About MSN

MSN attracts more than 400 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 41 markets and 20 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at . MSN worldwide sites are located at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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