Google Street View, a feature unveiled 15 years ago, has been relaunched in India for a select number of cities. Google Street View provides users with a 360° panoramic view experience paired with street and interior exploration. The feature returns after a six year hiatus from when it was banned in 2016 due to security concerns.
Google has partnered with Genesys and Tech Mahindra to bring Street View services back to India. The feature is available starting today for the city of Bangalore. Eventually, the feature will be made available for Ahmedabad and then Kolkata. Google intends to cover 50 Indian cities for Street View.
Google Street View combines multiple 360° panoramic images to create an experience similar to standing right in the middle of all the action of the city. This is paired with fully accessible interiors for some establishments and a provision to walk across streets virtually. The feature’s API will also be made available to app developers for third party integration.
Miriam Karthika Daniel, VP – Maps experiences, said, “Starting today, Street View will be available on Google Maps with fresh imagery intensity in India that is covering 150,000 kilometers (93,205 miles) of roads that’s actually been ingested into Google Maps. So I’m really thrilled about how people will start using Street View and in India and see how we have suddenly changed everyday lives.”
Google faced a Goverment blockade in 2016, as New Delhi had concerns about the technology potentially being an aid for terrorist organisations. The obstacle was circumvented last year with the introduction of central government’s new geospatial policy, which helped Google to bring the feature to India. “The geospatial policy allows local entities to do the data collection at a certain level of fidelity. So, our partners here, they configure the cameras, they go into the data collection. They own the data that they collect, but then they license it to entities like Google, so we can actually integrate it and offer services like Google Maps,” Karthika Daniel said.
The announcement came alongside a line-up of other updates coming to Google Maps. Google has partnered with traffic authorities of major Indian cities to provide information like speed limits, congestion zones, traffic lights and much more.