At least for the moment. I watched this video which led me over to Bing Maps which I have been using with more frequency over the past six months. You may have to click “Try it now” for the new Bing Maps once you get there. There are several icons on there that let you zoom to city, region, state etc.
The really cool thing is the 3D view from above and the WAY cool thing is the street-side view for areas with it enabled. I used the location of our old church in D.C. to look around and it was fun to use. Add to this the nearby Photosynths and I think Microsoft is on to something. It almost makes me wish I had a Windows machine for some things! In our day, innovation is rapid but catch up is also rapid; I expect Google to have something similar in the near future, that’s just how it works. But it is good to see some life out of M-soft, and overall I think that by 2020 we are going to have roll out, thin, scroll-like computers that provide imagery, text and video on an almost mind-boggling scale of beauty and ease of use. Of course, it will be so ubiquitous that we won’t even think about it anymore.
So here we are in 2010 and Microsoft SkyDrive is still sitting around not doing much. Yes, you can now edit Excel and PowerPoint files online, but Word, the tool that most of the world still has to use, is still unavailable for editing. Also, when you view your Documents folder, you have no option to select multiple files at the same time and perform an action to all of the files at once….in 2010…from the biggest software company ever.
They must be devoting a paltry amount of money and time to this service. Then, there is Office Live Workspace, which offers a better view of files, albeit one that looks like SharePoint in the cloud. Still, there is no ability to edit the document outside of Word on your local PC. What is the deal? Google Docs, which does not have as good an interface as Word, is still able to do all these things and has been for some time.
The issue can’t be ability, because Microsoft has to have the capabilities to do these seemingly simple tasks. Is Microsoft undergoing internal debates about how user-friendly to make these services and thereby taking forever to improve them? After all, who would really want to pay for Office anymore if we have the ability to do everything on SkyDrive, Office Live or some future combination of all these weird services in combination with free stuff like OpenOffice, Adobe Acrobat.com and Google Apps? But that is the future, whether Microsoft fights it or plays along. If they don’t want to make it available, Google will just keep cleaning their clock, even though Google’s interface and icons are corny and cartoonish at this point.
Either way, looking at SkyDrive and all of Windows Live you get the feel of 2004 or so. It looks like no one has thought about it much, it doesn’t work well, it seems poorly designed and it is ugly. Maybe this will all change. I hope so because I’d like to use it more.