Google Street View Return to India: The Google Street View feature in Google Maps, which allows users to view and navigate through panoramic street level images of cities, is finally making a comeback in India after being denied permission for a full-scale launch in 2016.
Press Meet in New Delhi announced that it is bringing Street View to India in association with Genesis and Tech Mahindra. The functionality with millions of 360-degree panoramic images will be available for 10 Indian cities, initially covering 150,000 km of roads.
Google aims to expand this feature to 50 cities by the end of this year. Also, as part of the initiative, Tech Mahindra will deploy an SUV equipped with cameras for crowded places. The proposal to roll out Google Street View in the country was rejected by the government in 2016 citing security reasons.
Alphabet’s Google, in partnership with Tech Mahindra and Genesis, launched its Street View service in 10 cities in India. The Street View functionality on Google Maps is covering 150,000 km of roads in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Nashik, Vadodara, Ahmednagar and Amritsar. The tech giant is bringing this feature to 50 Indian cities by the end of the year.
Data collection will be done by local partners, with Google confirming that the Street View API will be made available to local developers. India is the first country where Street View has been enabled primarily by partners.
It is implemented based on the new National Geospatial Policy that allows domestic companies to aggregate data and modern mapping techniques.
On Google Maps, Street View can be accessed by zooming in on a street in any target city and tapping the area you want to visit. It will showcase local cafes, cultural hotspots or local neighborhoods. It is said that it also provides surface temperature data with the help of Google Earth Engine.
Google will not use any Street View vehicle of its own, instead, the previous generation Mahindra Scorpios will be deployed.
Stafford Marquardt, Google’s data operations product manager, said the new Google Street View camera (unveiled at Google I/O) could also come to India (if it’s ready by that time) even if they use their vehicles are not doing. “We would love to bring the immersive view to India as well, but we have not decided anything. Since it uses 3D data and aerial view, we will probably have to do similar collaborations to bring it to India.”
The Indian government had earlier rejected the rollout of this feature, saying it would compromise the country’s security interests.
Google also announced road safety measures and its collaboration with local authorities to reduce traffic congestion. To promote safe driving, Google Maps will display speed limit data shared by traffic officials, starting with Bengaluru and Chandigarh.
Google in collaboration with the Bangalore Traffic Police is working towards optimizing traffic light timings, aiming to reduce waiting times, road congestion and carbon emissions at intersections. The company will expand it to Kolkata and Hyderabad.