Microsoft Turns Off Streetside Imagery In Germany Over Photo Blurring Concerns
Here’s a shocker*: Microsoft’s Streetside service has hit a bumpy road in Germany.
The company says it’s shut down Streetside imagery in Germany after complaints about the way the company was handling blurring requests. Microsoft spokesperson Thomas Baumgartner tells PCWorld that he’s not sure if or when Streetside will be reinstated in Germany.
A Microsoft statement says that the complaints are from “customers,” not from any government data protection-related agencies.
We have learned that there are a limited number of customers in Germany who raised concerns about the way we are pursuing their respective blurring requests. 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.
Despite the decision to take Streetside images offline, Microsoft says it will continue its Streetside photography plans in Germany, which currently include taking pictures in about 30 areas during the remainder of 2012.
Microsoft announced its plans to bring Streetside, its road-level photography service, to Germany in April 2011, despite a long list of challenges that Google faced with its Street View service in the country. But with Bing’s miniscule visibility (i.e., market share) in Germany, Microsoft received relatively few objections to the service in its first six months.