Microsoft released version 4 of Windows Live Local yesterday, which includes the very Sim City-esque 3D maps feature. San Jose Mercury News covered this, and includes a link to a super-high quality screenshot of the service in action:

Microsoft upped the ante on its competition with Google on Monday, revealing an advanced project to create three-dimensional cyber replicas of cities all over the world...People given an early peek said the project trumped Google Earth, which provides 3-D replicas of some buildings in some cities created by users of its SketchUp modeling product.

One thing I like best about the new service is that it’s integrated directly into the existing Windows Live Local system, meaning I don’t need to leave my browser. This thing is hot. Admittedly, it’s still rough around the edges in some respects. The interaction model for the 3D system seems unnecessarily different from the 2D system in some places, for example. Hopefully, this will get ironed out in the future.

See famous places with the new 3D mapping service. See my apartment building in 3D (freaky!).