Have you ever heard about “Bing StreetSide”? Reading this my first thought was like “wait a minute, is it the same as Google Street View?” Curious, I started inquiring about that topic and found some interesting facts; one of them, that Bing StreetSide is Microsoft’s answer to Google Streetview with some additional/improved features…
The first page I stumbled across was from SEO, a 2007 founded Pakistan Web and Search Engine Optimizing company “with main focus on search engine optimization and search engine marketing, social media optimization, blogging as well as providing customers with high quality, banner ads, display advertisements, content writing services and online promotion”. Here I learned the basics about Microsoft’s StreetSide.
Generally speaking, it offers you a virtual tour through a city you choose. In the past user were only able to jump from “bubble” to “bubble”; there were only particular points where you could see the street and its surroundings. Now, according to SEO, you can virtually walk through the street and Bing will upload the surrounding area immediately to enable a smooth crossover of pictures. If you want to check out a street to your left or right, just click the corresponding link. As you can see in the picture, right next to the street name is a tiny symbol that allows you to do a U-turn. Additionally, above that picture you see a map, which shows you where you are from the bird-eye perspective by displaying all the sounding streets.
But there’s another important aspect one has to mention. In his blog Chris Pendleton, who is the Lead Program Manager for Bing Maps Developer, describes the feature as follows: “Right below the images you will see an overlay of the names of businesses and bus stops, reducing clutter and providing location context.”
This is when I realized that companies can profit from that, since showing the names of companies and brands helps them to advertise. To deepen my knowledge I did some google blog search and finally found Livebookings, “Europe’s largest online marketing and reservations service for the restaurant industry.”
They explain that restaurants can use StreetSide as a marketing tool. Comparing Google Street View and Microsoft StreetSide they describe that both map services provide a 3D image of the restaurant. In contrast to Street View StreetSide will probably add a location based advertising to its 3D maps soon, but so far they don’t know exactly how this is supposed to look like. Moreover they present that StreetSide enables people to virtually check out the inside of the restaurant. To see how that works and looks like they provide the following link to the IvyRestaurant in Boston. Another feature SEO mentions is that people will be able to read the menu and comments regarding the restaurant by clicking the given links.
Thinking about this concept you will note that this should successfully work for other businesses, too. Furthermore the only thing companies have to do is register.
It seems like Google has a strong business rival. In May the Streetside car went through Germany and other European countries. Right now Streetside can’t offer as many cities as Street View, but its new concept is still in the starting blocks… I don’t know if StreetSide will become more popular than Street View in the future. Nevertheless one has to admit that their potential, their improved maps and the additional advertising they offer companies can be quite intimidating to Google Street View.
Anyhow, let’s wait and see what the future brings.