Google has become the go-to target for everything that's "bad" about the internet. The problem is that, for many people, Google "is" the internet. Those are the people that type "facebook.com" into Google Search to get to the social network.
Unfortunately, more often than anyone would like, these are the same people that make our laws and regulations. The fact that Google Search is targeted by anti-trust regulators for promoting its own products, despite the fact that all other search engines do the same, or worse, speaks volumes.
Lo and behold, there are other companies that do exactly what Google does, though perhaps not as successfully, as Germany realized all of a sudden.
For almost a year now, Microsoft has been working on its Street View-like program Streetside, in Germany.
It started shooting a year ago and the first photos went online last December. Before that, Microsoft gave Germany ample notice, people had from August to September to ask that their houses be blurred in Microsoft's Streetside.
That's another German invention, privacy regulators there are especially prickly and strict.
They asked Google to not only enable people to "remove" their houses from Street View, but to be able to do it before the photos went live. That's on top of the face and number plate blurring that is standard in Street View.
Microsoft's service, obviously, was submitted to the same process. Yet, it seems there have been some problems as Microsoft has taken the radical step to take down all photos from Germany.
It seems that some people complained about the way Microsoft treated requests for blurring images of their homes.
There are no further details so the nature of those complaints is unknown. But Microsoft was worried enough to take down the entire service while it evaluated the problem. Note that no authorities requested the take down, this was all voluntary.