CNet speculates about expanded Google StreetView coverage in Europe and the coming automation of 3D mapping for Google Earth and, perhaps, the desktop. Google’s StreetView project is definitely global and there have been sightings of the camera-equipped vehicles throughout Europe. It’s thus only a matter of time before the major European capitals are added (which is great for US-based travel to Europe; too bad the exchange rates are so unfavorable).
Microsoft automated its 3D rendering a couple of years ago with the acquisition of Vexcel and more recently acquired 3D modeling software company Caligari. And with those acquisitions, Microsoft has been able to jump ahead in 3D coverage of major cities.
Google had been substantially relying, until recently, on the community of Google Earth users to do 3D modeling. However, early last year it appears the company embarked on an automated 3D modeling program to accelerate coverage.