Microsoft Virtual Earth just crossed into another Live Search domain – Image Search. Live Image Search just added a Virtual Earth map to image results for certain major cities and landmarks. For points of interest such as Space Needle, Statue of Liberty or Pacific Beach, you’ll get a Bird’s Eye image of the respective location.
If you don’t see a Bird’s Eye image and you’re searching through a major city you still may have the opportunity to map out certain pictures in the result set that have been geospatially annotated and placed onto an overview map. If this is the case, you’ll see normal image search results, but at the top of the result list is a link for “Show Map.” You can click this to drop the respective geospatially annotated images onto a map. For any given image on the map you can also click on it for a larger version and metadata about the image (if available). Obviously, if you don’t like the map and find it somewhat irrelevant to image search there’s a “Hide Map” link as well; but, who would do that??? It’s kind of like the most gigantic photo mapping mashup ever! Well, it certainly has the makings to be.
The Live Search Blog has more information about it if you care to learn more from the Live Search angle. Either way, very cool.