Microsoft's Streetside launches in Europe

In a move aimed at trying to be more competitive with Google’s StreetView mapping service, Microsoft today announced that their version entitled “Streetside” was launching across Europe.

The service, which has been around in America for some time, will once again see large cameras on the top of cars driving around European streets and mapping the locations. Microsoft began mapping out areas around London today according to the BBC, with the company starting work in major cities around Europe next month.

Unlike Google’s own StreetView service, Microsoft only plans to record data in “urban centres” where they believe people will want to find services. This is in stark contrast to Google who have been mapping as many locations as they possibly can in their popular service.

In another move that differs from Google, Microsoft has said that they will try to inform the public when they will be arriving in their area to start mapping their streets. This move was brought on, not just by the complaints of a small amount of people made in relation to the lack of knowledge people had when Google were mapping the streets, but also due to the Wi-Fi privacy scandal that Google ended up in last year.

According to the BBC, Microsoft will only offer opting out of the mapping service to German residents, this was due to a new ruling which means that members of the public who wish to opt-out, can do so before any street mapping takes place. This is in contrast to what has happened with Google, who only allowed members of the public to ask for their property to be removed from the StreetView service after the images had gone live.

Microsoft’s Streetside service is set to go live across a number of areas, including their mobile platform Windows Phone 7. How it will fair against Google’s StreetView mapping service is anyone’s guess, especially with what seems like a strange decision only focus on large urban areas.

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