Microsoft Research is working on some really cool technology called Street Slide that brings online street navigation to a whole new level. Browsing through streets on interfaces like Google Street View limits users to a 360-degree photographic panoramic view called a bubble. You traverse the virtual street blocks by clicking and double clicking on parts of the street you want to explore in greater detail. As you’ve probably experienced first hand, all this clicking, mouse re-angling, and zooming in and out of the street bubbles can get rather confusing and frustrating.
Street Slide is different because it doesn’t just limit your street browsing to 360-degree panoramic bubbles. Street Slide lets you zoom out of the bubble to view a multi-perspective panoramic strip of the entire street. You can “slide” across the street strip, which appears to give you a much more immersive browsing experience. Thomas Ricker of Engadget described Street View well, calling it an ” instant visual summary of the surroundings — similar to viewing the entire street from a distance.” This broad level viewing approach, combined with ability to still explore areas in a panoramic bubble, make Street Slide far more engaging and user-friendly than Google Street View or Bing Maps Streetside.
As you can see in the screen shot above, the panoramic strip leaves a lot of open space at the top and the bottom, which Microsoft utilized to include clickable building logos and street numbers.
I’m really looking forward to the launch of this, which unfortunatley won’t be for a while, as Microsoft has yet to release word on when the technology will be available. For now, you’ll have to make do with the cool demo here.