A few months ago Microsoft released a video demo’ing its plans for Streetside – immersive street level photography in Bing Maps. These changes have now gone live in Bing Maps beta. Gone are the Google Street View-like 360 degree bubbles that you jump from one at a time. Instead there’s now a continuous sideways on view of building facades, which you can pan along and zoom into, making it much quicker and easier to find what’s nearby.
To help you navigate around, addresses and company names are over-layed and your current location is shown on a map. You can switch the view from one side of a street to another by clicking the U-turn icon.
The technology driving this impressive new implementation is Microsoft’s Photosynth which allows thousands of images to be blended together seemlessly
Currently Streetside imagery is available for 56 US metro areas and some areas in Canada. But this year Microsoft also plan to take photos in the UK, Spain, France and Germany. Availability is indicated in Bing Maps by clicking on the Streetside icon.
Watch Microsoft Research’s technology preview of Street Slide (from 2010) in this video: