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Microsoft Streetside cars hit London

"Drive, my pretties, Drive!"
"Drive, my pretties, Drive!"

Microsoft has sent out a fleet of cars to London in order to photograph its streets for a map-based service called Streetside.

Sounds familiar, no? Well it should. Essentially, Streetside is Bing's answer to Google Streetview with one or two differences.

The first being that it won't be as prolific as Google's photographic map service: only major tourist locales are getting the Streetside treatment, rather than every available street. So, it'll be like Streetview but not as useful.


One of the benefits of using someone else's idea is that you get to learn from their mistakes; Microsoft is very keen to avoid the privacy concerns caused by Google's service.

Rather than just sending the cars out willy nilly, Microsoft has set up a website and telephone hotline to communicate where its cars will be and when. And, like on Google Streetview, faces and car registration plates will be blurred out.

But, it's a copy-cat move that hardly endears Bing to us, despite Microsoft's claim that it is simply investing in location-based services, which are about to become big business.