This is excellent news and seems to be hot off the presses; Microsoft will soon be bringing Streetside to Europe. The information has come via the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones who linked to a new site microsoftstreetside.co.uk which was only registered 5 days ago. I, of course, might have been somewhat blind and not seen this announcement before but this information is certainly news to me. The European cities that are going to be available are London, Paris and Barcelona.
This new site dedicated to Streetside in the UK seems to be a direct response to the controversy caused by Google when it has its car roaming around the UK taking pictures. Microsoft have a hotline people can ring to find out where the cars currently are and there is a page showing where the Streetside teams are planning to take pictures. The company will also only be taking Streetside images for popular destinations and not every street. There are good and bad points to this strategy and I’d imagine that over time that more areas are covered.
Streetside is currently available for some US cities and it’s a rather impressive piece of tech offering 3D perspectives and a more fluid experience than Google’s Streetview. Bing Maps also provides that apps that allow for other features to be experienced such as viewing geotagged photos over the Streetside images. There have also been previews of other Map Apps that allowing real-time videos to be placed over the correct points within Streetside and for Streetside to go inside buildings.
In addition to this news it would appear that over the next year Microsoft are looking to bring new Streetside photos to 4 more US cities: Dallas, Miami, New York and San Francisco.
Microsoft do not take these photos themselves but partner with Navteq, a Nokia owned mapping company. It will be interesting to see if the Microsoft/Nokia partnership leads to more collaboration for Bing Maps. Microsoft Research have previously shown off an idea of showing the information provided by Streetside in a 2D map, I wonder though if we will ever see this in Bing Maps. This news follows more good news for Bing which in the US now has over 30%.
Are you glad that Microsoft are bringing Streetside to more than just the US markets or do you think its an invasion of privacy?