In a somewhat interesting move Ask.com ditched their own mapping service today, and has teamed up with Microsoft to use their Virtual Earth service. The switchover has already been made, and you can see the new service up and running over at Ask City. Most people, however, probably won’t notice the switch since nothing feels any different than it did.
I’m actually surprised that Ask.com went this route (no pun intended) because it was just a year and a half ago that they revamped their mapping service adding features like annotation. Those features appear to be non-existent now that Microsoft is the one serving up their maps and directions. Hopefully those things will wiggle their way back into the site in the future.
I’m guessing that Ask.com decided to go this route so that they can reap the benefits of Microsoft funding the advancement of the mapping service, without them actually having to fork out any money. I’d have to imagine paying for the satellite and bird’s eye view imagery isn’t very cheap. A penny saved is a penny earned, right?