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Microsoft launches Streetside cars in UK

Microsoft plans to start collecting images with a fleet of Bing Maps Streetside cars in the UK in hopes of competing with Google Maps StreetView service.

Like Google's Streetview, Microsoft's new service will offer images of streets in a particular city, allowing users to easily find their way to particular destinations. It also presents a more effective way for local businesses to advertise their establishments.

The Streetside cars will use a 360-degree camera mounted on top of the cars to take the images. Nokia-owned mapping company Navteq is partnering with the software giant.

Navteq will provide the cars to take the images. The company will also be responsible for collecting crucial data on landmarks and other establishments while taking the images for the service.

Microsoft said that the Streetside service will automatically blur people's faces and license plate numbers when the images are uploaded to the web. Microsoft ha also said it will be responsive to user requests for removing content deemed inappropriate.

“We accept requests to blur or remove images of faces or persons, homes, cars, acts of violence, nudity and unlawful material. Depending on the content of the pictures we may remove it entirely, blur a portion of it or take no action if no identifying features remain visible,” the company said in a statement.