Google Maps launches Street View India 11 years late

Gogle Maps Street View
FILE PHOTO: The Google Maps app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google Maps on Wednesday launched its panoramic Street View service in 10 Indian cities in partnership with Tech Mahindra and Genesys, 11 years after a first attempt ran into regulatory troubles.

The feature, which offers 360-degree views of streets around the world using photos taken by cruising vehicles, has faced privacy complaints and regulatory scrutiny in many countries.

The Indian launch comes after Google was denied permission at least twice in the last decade by the government over security concerns.

Company executives said on Wednesday it was able to meet the regulatory requirements thanks to a new geospatial policy from India last year, which allows foreign map operators to provide panoramic imagery by licensing the data from local partners.

Data collection was entirely done by Tech Mahindra and Genesys, Google said, adding the service would be available in over 50 Indian cities by the end of this year.

Street View imagery will blur out the faces of individuals and license plates to address privacy concerns, said Miriam Daniel, Vice President of Google Maps Experiences.

Wednesday’s announcement coincided with a similar feature launch from MapmyIndia, which powers Apple Inc’s maps in the country. Its Mappls RealView is live across thousands of cities, the company said.

Google also announced a partnership with India’s Central Pollution Control Board to provide air quality information over maps.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in New Delhi; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Mark Potter)

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