My friend Steve recently showed me his online collections: of live traffic cameras in cities across the country, bars he likes in his hometown of Seattle, and webvideos he thinks are funny.

Steve uses Microsoft’s Virtual Earth tool to build his collections.

But it turns out that home buyers, sellers and real estate agents are far and away the largest users of Virtual Earth collections. And it’s easy to see why.

If you’re looking for a house, you can plot the houses you’ve seen, write descriptions of them, and upload photos or video or other information. If you’re selling, you can plot out your favorite stores, coffee shop and restaurant so future buyers will understand why you like living there.

And if you’re a real estate agent, you can easily show your clients a collection of homes for sale and let them explore the neighborhood at their convenience.

It’s easy to sign up at And best of all, it’s free.

With practical, informative consumer advice, I’m Ilyce Glink, News-Talk 750 WSB