In a change that many have expected, Microsoft has unveiled its new 'Streetside view' for Bing Maps. The introduction of this new type of view has been designed to compete with Google's streetview by saying that "The street flows by as a series of smooth ground-level photographs so now you simply pan up and down the street to see the neighborhood and find what you are looking for."
As Microsoft puts it forward, rather than offering a view of the street in a bubble form by where you're restricted to certain view points along the road/path, you're able instead to slide through the street in one view. The images that the Bing vehicle takes are synthesized together to create a certainly different type of viewing experience for the user which Microsoft feels is a good thing.
One of the specific advantages that the new Streetside view offers is the specific location of businesses and services which some have commented are harder to find on Google's popular Streetview. You can try it out for yourself in New York or San Francisco. What is interesting is that Bing has made it clear immediately that this has the potential to be used on mobile platforms quite easily, as those using the Bing app on the iPhone may find this look familiar.
As we observed with Google though, it can take quite a significant amount of time to pass before you are able to cover a large area on an international basis, which in turn increases the user audience dramatically. Given that this provides a different experience from the ideas that we've seen before, it will be interesting to see both how it is promoted and whether it succeeds.
Image Credit: bing.com