Microsoft takes German Bing Streetside imagery offline

Summary:Microsoft has temporarily removed the street imagery feature from Bing Maps in Germany, following complaints.The company launched the Bing Streetside feature for its Germany users last year.

Microsoft has temporarily removed the street imagery feature from Bing Maps in Germany, following complaints.

The company launched the Bing Streetside feature for its Germany users last year. However, like Google with its analogous Street View service, it seems Microsoft has now met with resistance from particularly privacy-conscious Germans.

On Tuesday, Microsoft removed Streetside from the version of Bing Maps seen by those in Germany, not only for German photos, but for all Streetside imagery around the world. Those outside Germany can also no longer see the images that had been taken inside the country.

"Some German customers have expressed concerns to us about the way in which Bing Streetside blurring requests are handled," Microsoft spokesman Thomas Baumgärtner said in a statement.

"As we take data protection and the privacy of our customers very seriously, we have as a precaution decided to take the mapping service Streetside Beta offline in Germany, while we check these individual cases and work on a satisfactory solution for all parties," Baumgärtner added.

Google's Street View is available in Germany, but a relatively high number of building facades are blurred out at the request of residents. Google gave up taking new Street View photos in April last year, most likely due to the high cost of manually processing hundreds of thousands of blurring requests.

Microsoft only launched Streetside in Germany after Google's travails, and it did so after a period in which it allowed people to request their properties be removed from the photos.

Microsoft's service offers much less imagery than Google's, as the company is still in the process of photographing the country's streets for the first time, but the timing means Microsoft's service is more up-to-date than Google's where it does exist.

Topics: Telcos

About

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't be paying many bills. His early journalistic career was spent in general news, working behind the scenes for BBC radio and on-air as a newsreader for independent stations. David's main focus is on communications, of both... Full Bio

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