Microsoft are aiming to muscle in on Google’s success with their own version of the streetview service. Google (like everything else) have dominated the navigation market with Google maps and the little green man is now an infamous icon.
You can see why Microsoft want in, it’s a very lucrative market. People will always need directions and they will most likely shun the A to Z and turn to the web (either on their phone or computer.) With augmented reality breaking its way into the tech world services like streetview are going to get more swanky and attract even more people.
Microsoft’s cars have been fitted with cameras and have begun taking pictures around London. They will start mapping major cities on the continent next month. The service is currently already available in 56 US towns and cities.
The service named Streetside will be on a smaller scale than Streetview, according to the company’s director of search, Dave Coplin.”We’re not setting out to record every street. We believe it is most valuable in urban centres where people want to find services.”
In order to avoid the privacy issues raised by Google’s mapping pursuit Microsoft will collect the “bare minimum” of data and Wi-Fi data plans are on hold unti Microsoft’s lawyers are convinced. “We took the decision to postpone wi-fi data collection. We’d like to do it the right way,” said Dave Coplin. He continued “Privacy is imbued in everything we do,” said Coplin.
So what’s the difference between the two going to be?
It’s the same old story, Google will stay the giants of online maps, Streetview is a cultural force akin to the big G’s attempt to catalogue art and books and the Earth. Streetview is more for fun and intrigue than a serious tool for journey planning and urban searching. Microsoft will be hoping to bring in those people along with those who are wary of Google. It’s just like the smartphone market, the mass public will eat up Androids like there’s no tomorrow but more professional users who rely on their phone for work will look to BlackBerry/Microsoft instead.