Google Maps launches Street View in India

Google, Genesys International, and Tech Mahindra plan to expand this feature to more than 50 cities by the end of 2022.

Google Maps launches Street View in India
The users of Google Maps, will be able to zoom into a road in any of these target cities, and tap the area to be viewed. The feature will allow to know the local cafes, and cultural hotspots, or check out the local neighbourhood.

Tech giant Google, on Wednesday, announced the launch of Street View in India, which is a 360-degree panoramic view feature on Google Maps. Google said Street View is being launched in partnership with Genesys International, an advanced mapping solutions company, and Tech Mahindra.

Starting Wednesday, Street View will be available on Google Maps with fresh imagery licensed from local partners covering over 150,000 kilometre across ten cities in India, including Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Nashik, Vadodara, Ahmednagar, and Amritsar.

The users of Google Maps, will be able to zoom into a road in any of these target cities, and tap the area to be viewed. The feature will allow to know the local cafes, and cultural hotspots, or check out the local neighbourhood.

“Street View will help people navigate and explore new corners of the country and the world in a more visual and accurate way, enabling them to fully experience what it’s like to be in these places, right from their phones or computers. Street View APIs will also be available to local developers enabling them to deliver richer mapping experiences in their services,” the company said in a statement.

This is Google’s third attempt to launch the Street View feature in India, with the last attempt made six years ago, blocked by the government on security grounds. The Street View launch attempt in India was first made in 2011 in Bengaluru. However, the US tech giant was restricted from collecting pictures for this service. In 2016, security agencies had raised concerns on allowing this feature which it felt was not in the interest of national security. The Indian government then stopped Google from collecting images.

However, National Geospatial Policy 2021, that came in February last year allows local companies to collect such data and license it to others, while restricting foreign companies to do the same.

Speaking on the announcement, Miriam Karthika Daniel, vice president (Google Maps experiences) said, “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 and establishments. This launch has been made possible only through collaborations with our local partners Tech Mahindra and Genesys International.”

Daniel said that Google remains committed to collaborating with local organisations and the government to work towards delivering more useful features and information on Maps. “We will continue to do this responsibly, enabling accurate, authentic, and trustworthy information. We look forward to extending our technology and expertise to the local ecosystem,” she said.

Google, Genesys International, and Tech Mahindra plan to expand this feature to more than 50 cities by the end of 2022. In a first, the India launch marks Street View being launched entirely by local partners.

Birendra Sen, business Head, (business process services), Tech Mahindra, said, “There is an increasing need for technologies that turn insights from GIS (Geographic Information Systems) into ready products that can be utilised by customers. The GIS industry has only grown manifold with time, owing to increased data availability and the development of smart cities all over the world. In line with this, our partnership with Google is another step toward delivering high-quality and immersive mapping experiences to the people of India.”

Sajid Malik, managing director, Genesys International Corporation Limited, said, “We were the first Indian firm to perform street imaging of all major cities in India. Our fleet is still swiftly photographing Indian cities, bringing to life our city’s amazing tapestry of streets and landmarks and allowing us to comfortably visit our old neighbourhoods or plan our trips. Google Maps has always been at the forefront of geospatial technology, and we are honoured to be an enabler of their efforts by offering the best technology to India and its people.”

Heating up the competition in the mapping landscape, interestingly, another home-grown player, MapMyIndia too announced the launch of its Mappls RealView 360-degree panoramic street view imagery and 3D metaverse maps on its website Mappls.com and Mappls App, on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Google has also partnered with local traffic authorities to improve traffic congestion and road safety and will bring speed limit information, road closures and disruptions information, and better optimise traffic lights features onto the map. It will also collaborate with Central Pollution Control Board to provide air quality information on Google Maps.

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