Bing Maps now sports a “little blue man” icon representing Streetside, and UK users can use it to view Streetside areas in US maps. And according to a report in The Telegraph, Navteq/Bing branded cars (4 of them initially) are already mapping out London.
Initially, Streetside will provide a limited service. It will, however, also include the option to pan along one side of a street, with adverts or additional information supplied on screen space above and below the images on a mobile phone screen.
A FAQ on the Bing’s Streetside web page confirms that the UK is first on the list:
Q. When will street level imagery include international markets?
A. Microsoft has already collected imagery in 56 US metro areas as well as in selected areas in Canada. In April 2011, Microsoft will begin collecting street level imagery in Europe, starting in the UK with France, Germany and Spain following soon after.
Also, note, Bing Maps Streetside has morphed into what Microsoft Research has called “Street Slide”. Street Slide, while it seems to leave a lot to be desired on a desktop, may prove to be a much better experience on a phone or mobile device, where screen real estate is at a premium.