Have you checked out the new MSN Live.com Street-side Drive-by local mapping beta yet? If not, I would highly recommend you check it out by visiting: https://preview.local.live.com. Just as the name might imply you can explore the city from the street level in a sports car, race car or by walking. Currently, you can only explore Seattle or San Francisco but the city pool is sure to expand with time. Check out the street perspective in the screen-shot from San Francisco above which might remind you of the popular video game Doom.
I think this new application is wicked however I do not see searching via a map overtaking the customary text field entry search format for some time. Mapping technology still has a little more catching up to do to ensure that searching and navigating via a map a quick, smooth and seamless user experience.
For additional blogosphere coverage check out these posts on TechCrunch, Blogbob and connecting the dots. Additionally check out what Microsoft Channel 9 has to offer via video.