11 years after the first project failed due to regulatory issues, Google Maps Wednesday officially launched its 360° Street View service in 10 Indian cities in cooperation with Tech Mahindra and Genesys.
The feature, which uses images captured by traveling automobiles to provide 360-degree views of cities throughout the world, has come under legal and privacy scrutiny in many countries.
The launch in India comes after the government denied Google permission at least twice in the last ten years due to security issues.
The company’s executives claimed on Wednesday that the new geospatial policy from India last year, which allows international map operators to deliver panoramic images by licensing the data from local partners, allowed them to meet the legal criteria.
Google stated that Tech Mahindra and Genesys were entirely responsible for data collecting and that the service would be made available in more than 50 Indian cities by the end of this year.
In order to address privacy concerns, Street View images will block out people’s faces and license plates, according to Miriam Daniel, Vice President of Google Maps Experiences.
The announcement on Wednesday was timed to coincide with the release of a similar service by MapmyIndia, the local provider of Apple Maps. According to the company, its Mappls RealView is active in thousands of cities.
Google also disclosed a collaboration with the Central Pollution Control Board of India to deliver air quality data via maps.