The service allows users to limit a search query to a certain geographic region and display the search results on a map.
While Google and Yahoo already provide similar services, the Microsoft offering has a few unique features.
It offers a bird's eye view of an area in addition to an aerial view, for instance. The bird's eye view pictures are taken at an angle and feature a higher resolution than the satellite view.
Users can also leave digital 'pushpins', marking a location on a map or picture, and send them by email. This allows the user to pick a location to meet or explain to visitors where to park their cars.
"We believe that Windows Live Local sets a new standard for what people can do with maps, directions and local search," said Christopher Payne, corporate vice president of MSN Search at Microsoft.
Bird's eye view pictures are currently available for about 25 per cent of the US, and Microsoft said that more coverage will follow in the future.
Google's local service offers only a road map and satellite images, while Yahoo's has only road maps. But Google outshines MSN in its web spiders, and Yahoo offers better user generated content, according to Charlene Li, a principal analyst with Forrester Research covering devices, media and marketing.
"Windows Live Local is still behind in those areas. But in certain circumstances, I can see myself switching to this new service to use the bird's eye view. It is much more than nice-to-have eye candy," she said.
"The question is whether people will switch their mapping and local preferences over to Microsoft. I suspect that this new offering is a definite step in that direction."
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