Have you seen what Microsoft Live Search Maps can do lately? Its web-fueled Virtual Earth software continues to gain on Google Earth, adding to its library of "bird's eye views" where you can you get a surprisingly sharp look into your neighbors' windows from all four points of the compass.

Of course, it only works with Internet Explorer, and you're required to download the Virtual Earth applet to get it going, but this is some remarkable tech that's also available for mobile devices. It'll be even better when the number of cities included in the database expands beyond the paltry five metro areas currently supported (San Diego, Detroit, Milwaukee (pictured above), Cleveland and San Jose).

Update: The cities above are those that were recently added. There are many more. Regret the error. Sorry. Plus, we originally tried the 3D navigation feature in Firefox, but it didn't load and told us to use IE.

Virtual Earth Maps [Microsoft Live Search]