By Marcus Leach

Microsoft is set to launch its own version of Google's controversial 'Street View' service to Europe.

Streetside, as the Microsoft version will be known, will provide photos that complement Bing's maps. The BBC notes in its report, Streetside has already rolled out in the States, with some 56 towns and cities across America getting snapped up.

Streetside will provide a true-to-life view you can explore to get a feel for a place and plan your activities. You can travel along streets, view storefronts and parks, and navigate to destinations without an address (or even street names) by using landmarks and familiar spots as visual cues.

To provide this immersive 360-degree experience for even more areas, mobile Bing teams may soon be using a car-mounted camera to map public roads.

Rather than planning to cover every last road in an area Microsoft are planning to focus on the major population areas, with the cars about to arrive in London.

The aim is to tie Streetside in with location based services — and for that, the company will need to collect data on wi-fi hotspots throughout the towns and cities it travels through.

Google had previously caused problems with their own version when cars mistakenly sampled data from unsecure wi-fi networks.