Google Street View returns to India; live in 10 cities
Roughly six years ago, Google's attempt to launch Street View in India was blocked by the government due to security concerns. The company has now announced that it is relaunching the 360-degree panoramic view feature in the country. It has partnered with Tech Mahindra and Genesys to make the comeback a reality. Dubbed 'Project Gullify,' it is now live in 10 cities.
- Google has made it happen - Street View is finally available in India. And for that, it has partnered with third-party firms.
- The introduction of Street View will pose a huge challenge to local companies like Wonobo and MapMyIndia.
- They have been enjoying the space left vacant by Google, but with Street View back in the picture, things will be tough.
Google has launched Street View in India this time by partnering with local giants Tech Mahindra and Genesys. This is the first time the service has been introduced anywhere in the world by partnering with third-party companies. The relaunch has been made possible by the new National Geospatial Policy 2021, which lets local companies collect such data and license it to others.
Street View can be accessed on Google Maps by zooming into any road and tapping the area you want to view. It will also show the surface temperature. Google will not use its own vehicles to collect data but instead will use Mahindra Scorpios. The new Immersive View feature on Maps introduced at this year's I/O could also make its way into India.
Google's attempt to launch Street View in India dates back to 2011. In that year, the city of Bengaluru stopped the company from collecting pictures on an experimental basis for its service. In 2016, after concerns from security agencies, the Indian government too objected to the company's plans to collect images. The government feared that it would be detrimental to national security.
Cut to now: Street View is available in 10 cities, including Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Nashik, Vadodara, Ahmednagar, and Amritsar. By the end of 2022, the company plans to expand it to 50 cities. The company claims that it has covered 150,000km so far. It targets 700,000km in two years. Google also has plans to offer Street View APIs to local developers.
"We believe the launch of Street View in India will be instrumental in delivering a more helpful user experience, from virtually visiting locations to getting a better sense of local businesses," said Miriam Karthika Daniel, VP of Google Maps Experience. "We remain committed to collaborating with local organizations and the government as we work toward delivering even more useful features and information on Maps."
Notably, Google has been offering 360-degree Street View in India in a limited fashion for a while. The service provides imagery of several monuments in the country in partnership with the Archaeological Survey of India.
Along with Street View, Google has also introduced some new features to the Maps. Users in Bengaluru and Chandigarh can now view speed limit data in Maps. In Bengaluru, Google Maps users can also see signal wait time. In eight cities, the company has partnered with traffic authorities to reduce road congestion by providing information on road closures and incidents.