Microsoft lets people drive in online map

New technology enables users to navigate through the streets of downtown Seattle and San Francisco.

In what looks like a newfangled video racing game, Microsoft is previewing new technology in Windows Live Local that shows a street-level view from a driver's perspective and includes an interactive element that lets a user "drive" down the street using a keyboard's Up and Down arrows.

On the bottom half of the screen, a cartoon car navigates the city streets in a view that combines an aerial satellite map and a road map with street names. Users can change the border of the driver's window to "race car" or "sports car," or they can switch to a walking view. For now, a limited number of city streets are covered in downtown San Francisco and Seattle.

The street-level photos are reminiscent of Amazon's A9.com maps site, which shows photos of both sides of a street.

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by Bridget Carey