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Google Maps launches Street View in India after 11-year wait


Google Maps has launched its 360-degree interactive Street View panorama feature for 10 Indian cities nearly a decade after its first attempt to roll out the service ran into regulatory issues in the country.

To roll out the feature, Google is partnering with the local Genesys International and Tech Mahindra for 3D mapping content and geospatial solutions, as well as IT services, marking the first time the Silicon Valley tech giant tied up with local partners to offer this service to consumers.

The ten cities in India where the feature will be rolled out first include Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Nashik, Vadodara, Ahmednagar, and Amritsar, Google said in a statement.

Google noted on Wednesday that it has licensed new imagery from its local partners that span over 50,000 km across these cities.

When Google Maps launched Street View – which offers 360-degree views of streets around the world using photos taken by cruising vehicles – for the first time in India in 2011, it faced privacy complaints and regulatory scrutiny.

Company executives said on Wednesday that it was able to meet the regulatory requirements now, thanks to a new geospatial policy from India last year.

They said the new regulations allow foreign map operators to provide panoramic imagery by licensing the data from local partners.

Google said data collection for Street View was entirely done by Tech Mahindra and Genesys, adding that it expects the service to be available in over 50 Indian cities by the end of this year.

The faces of individuals and license plates will be blurred out by Street View to address privacy concerns, Miriam Daniel, Vice President of Google Maps Experiences, told Reuters.

Users in the 10 cities where the feature is rolled out can access it by opening the Google Maps app, zooming into a road in any of these cities, and tapping the area they seek to view.

Street View’s launch in the country coincides with the rollout of a similar feature from MapmyIndia that powers Apple Inc’s India maps.

Google is also teaming up with India’s Central Pollution Control Board to provide air quality information over maps, and is reportedly partnering with local traffic authorities to reduce traffic congestion and improve road safety.


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