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Microsoft Expands Local Search Into U.K.

Microsoft Corp. is expanding its local, photo-based search service into the United Kingdom, and adding traffic information for the U.S. service.

The Redmond-based software company, which is battling Google Inc. and others in the ever-expanding field of Internet search, on Wednesday began offering a test version of the online mapping service in the U.K. It also announced a limited trial in Canada.

Microsoft is planning to expand the service into other parts of Europe and North America over the next two years.

The service, called Windows Live Local, is already available in some parts of the United States. In some cases, it offers pictures so detailed that you can make out whether a neighbor's hedge needs trimming.

Rival Google already offers photo-based search results, based on satellite images, in locations including the U.S. and the U.K.

Microsoft also said Wednesday that it had started including real-time traffic information from traffic.com to its U.S. local search results.

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