Let's see how they compare.

I've already mentioned this comparison which mentions the World Trade Center. It also links to an article on The Register which mentions the problems with Apple's headquarters. To make it easier for you, here's some direct links.

Apple Headquarters, on VirtualEarth and Google Maps.

The (perhaps not-so-)former World Trade Center, on VirtualEarth and Google Maps

Just for completeness, I was going to show you what both sites show for "Sydney, Australia" - but Virtual Earth doesn't know where that is. Google does though. I thought perhaps I'd just try searching for Sydney - it took me here for some unknown reason, and gave me a list of possible Sydneys - "Sydney, Hillsborough, Florida, United States" or "Sydney, Stutsman, North Dakota, United States".

Okay, so Australia's not the center of the world. Lets try searching for some locations that would be more famous.

The most powerful nations in the world today are the Group of Eight - France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. Their capitals are Paris, Washington DC, London, Moscow, Berlin, Tokyo, Rome and Ottawa. Let's try searching for these - surely the eight most important cities in the world.

Running through the list then, we have:

Paris on Google and MSN - also offered were Parises in Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Idaho, Ohio, Arkansas, Los Angelese, Indiana, and Iowa.

Washington DC on Google and MSN

London on Google and MSN. MSN offers suggestions of Londons in Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Moscow on Google and MSN. MSN offers suggestions of Moscows in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan.

Berlin on Google and MSN. MSN offers suggestions of Berlins in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, and Maryland

Tokyo on Google and.. sorry, MSN doesn't know of a Tokyo.

Rome on Google and MSN. MSN offers suggestions of Romes in New York, Covington, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi.

Ottawa on Google and MSN. MSN offers suggestions of Ottawas in Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio and Oklahoma.

So. We've searched for the capitals of the 8 most powerful nations in the world. Google finds each perfectly, MSN instead finds some obscure location in the US - and suggests other locations in the US. Not one of the suggestions for any of these searches was outside the USA.

I can't but agree that this should be called the Virtual United States.

Ah - apparently at least one person likes Virtual Earth - although they haven't explained why yet.

(This post would have taken much less time to write if Virtual Earth's "permalink" was more useable. Comparison: Google- Right click "Link to this page" link, select "Copy Link Location". MSN - left-click "Permalink", wait for window to draw, move mouse to the new link, right-click, select "Copy Link Location", close permalink window. That's 4 clicks and two mouse moves for MSN vs two clicks for Google).