Monday is the first day of Microsoft taking photos in Germany. This could be a major competition for Google Maps Street View. Bing Streetside are now taking photos in 50 cities in Germany. It is expected to be ready within the next 18 months. More about this is explained by Olivier Blanchard, head of Microsoft’s online business operations in Germany:
When will the first cities be put online?
– We plan to do so this summer, probably, or by autumn at the latest. But we won’t activate all cities at once. Mind you, our calculations dictate that we’ll need to cover and photograph about 150,000 kilometres of the country, and this process could take about 18 months. Our partner Navteq [an American company providing data and navigation services], which works with us all over the world, is providing us with between five and ten vehicles across Europe. But they won’t all be in German cities simultaneously; they will also be in France and Great Britain. Our work in Germany is part of a larger project.
Many German cities are virtually accessible through Google already. What does “Streetside” offer?
– Similar products have certain similarities, of course. And yet, “Streetside” will not be “Street View.” With “Streetside,” not only can users move step by step through cities, but also much faster, block by block. That’s why we are also initiating the “Block View” function in this country. We believe this will facilitate mobile use, if people want to make a quick overview of their surroundings. The “Block View” function will mix the detailed, close-range view with the distant bird’s eye view. In addition, we plan to activate many more cities than our competitors have – with far more recent recordings, at that.