Google Maps Street View vs Microsoft Live Search Preview

Google Maps Street View has received a lot of attention in the news as of late for posting images that include people, or even items that are viewable through windows inside businesses and homes.

There are images of women sunbathing, a man coming out of an adult bookstore,  a cat in a living room window as well as many others. Web sites are cropping up such as the one on Wired, to highlight the interesting and the odd of these images. See the following screen shot for an example.


These images are bringing up privacy issues for people. A street view system of maps that is no longer in service had an image of someone that was caught smoking outside their office, and at that time his family did not know he smoked.

It would seem that Google in releasing Google Maps Street View did not take into account that even when we are in public, people have an expectation of a certain level of privacy. The laws do state that if a photograph is taken from a public street then it is legal – but people still have that expectation of privacy.

At this time Microsoft has real images available on Live Search. The big difference is the fact that these images are from a bird’s eye view and do not identify any specific detail at street level. The screen shot example from Live Search is zoomed in as close as you can get using this service.


There is a technology preview for Live Search Maps that include being able to drive a Race Car, Sports Car or work through Seattle, WA or San Francisco, CA. Currently the technology preview states that images from the preview are not allowed separate from the website, you will have to click the link to actually check out the preview.

This technology preview is very similar to Google implement of street level imaging, but Microsoft has taken care not to display private information such as faces or license plates.

Part of Microsoft’s implementation of this street level imaging technology is discovering a method that will obscure any identifiable images such as faces and license plates.

It looks like Google won the initial race to get a set of street level images to market, but in the process may have taken a hit to consumer confidence. This time Microsoft’s more thorough approach may be a winning strategy for them concerning street level imaging and privacy issues.

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9 Responses to “Google Maps Street View vs Microsoft Live Search Preview”

  1. The Google Street Maps Fiasco | Geek in Paradise Says:

    […] Category: Google, Microsoft | ≅  Thomas at Technical Blogger has a great write-up of Google’s intrusion into everyone’s reasonable level of privacy expecte… when you’re out and […]

  2. Susan ( Says:

    I think Google has gone too far with this one. It definitely seems like “Big Brother.” It’s like having a virtual private investigator!

  3. Thomas Says:

    Susan – The odd part is, the law is actually on Google’s side. When you on public property anyone can take your photograph.

    As I mention we have this expecation of privacy that we aren’t really entitled. Now that being said, I do not agree with recognizable images being uploaded as part of their system. After Google creates street views for your town, do you have to perform a virtual walk through of where you’ve been to ensure that any images of yourself you want taken down are removed?

    I think Google was too impatient about getting the feature to market and didn’t think about the longer term consequences.

  4. Mike Says:

    I don’t understand how it can be said that Google went too far with this one. They are using images taken of street scenes that are 100% public. I could just as easily see these things by driving down the street myself. If these images were live, then I could understand how it might seem like “Big Brother”, or like having a “virtual private investigator”. But seriously, these are public images. I don’t have any expectation of privacy if I’m walking down the street. The people at Google aren’t stupid, they know that their images are perfectly legal.

  5. dave Says:

    who cares
    what are you trying to hide from? Facts

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