Bing Maps Nixes Streetside Feature in GermanyBy: Drew Bowling - May 23, 2012
Due to some concerns regarding how Bing Maps deals with requests to blur images on its Streetside feature in Germany, the company has decided to disable the street-level image feature in order to assess some of the complaints. Blurring out faces is common fare with ground-level photographs in Streetside and Google Maps rival service, Street View. However, that doesn’t appear to be quite far enough to satisfy everybody in Germany as some have requested that the companies blur out the facades of buildings, as well.
A spokesperson with Microsoft told WebProNews, “There are a limited number of customers in Germany who raised concerns about the way we are pursuing their respective blurring requests.” He added, “As we take privacy and data protection of our customers very seriously, we decided to take down the StreetSide Beta service in Germany, while evaluating these single cases and working on a solution.”
Bing has canvased quite a bit of Germany since it started photographing the country last May for the Streetside feature and was still diligently at work on the project as recently as this month. However, according to a source that spoke with PCWorld, Bing plans to continue on with the photography schedule.
As of this point, it’s unclear if Streetside will ever be reinstated in Germany. Google Maps endured complaints of a similar nature when it embarked on collecting images for Street View. Since those complaints filled Google’s inbox, the company complied with requests to blur out faces and buildings,has seemingly stopped updating any of the Street View imagery for German cities, leaving much of the country’s Street View imagery out of date.
Bing could follow suit and abandon all hope of providing reliable, up-to-date Streetside imagery or, given that these are a “limited number of customers” who have submitted complaints, maybe Bing thinks they can appease the Germans where Google could not. Cross your fingers for the former but don’t hold your breath.
In the meantime, the only way you’re going to be able to stroll down the streets of Germany is to put some boots on the sidewalks and shake a leg because you may not get another chance for a virtual tour of Deutschland anytime soon.