Google has announced that it will begin collecting images in Bengaluru for its Street View feature in Google Maps. This is the first time that the internet giant will provide the service for any Indian city.
Google cars and Trikes will today begin driving and taking street level photographs of public locations around the city. The images will be made available at a later date in Street View on Google Maps.
Street View is a popular feature of Google Maps, already available in more than 27 countries. It allows users to virtually explore and navigate a neighbourhood through panoramic street-level images. It is also accessible via Google Maps for mobile.
In countries where Street View is available people can access street-level imagery by zooming into the lowest level on Google Maps, or by dragging the orange “Pegman” icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street.
In addition to the cars, the Google Trike — a specially designed three-wheel rickshaw with a camera system mounted on top — will start gathering images from select locations in the area, such as the Nrityagram Dance Village in Bengaluru, over the next few weeks.
The Trike has already collected imagery from dozens of famed places around the world, including Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, Pompei in Italy, Legoland in California, and Versailles in France. You can find images of the Trike in action here.
Lynne Fernandez, managing trustee, Nrityagram Dance Village, said, “We are very excited to be on Street View. I understand that the Trike can go off the beaten path to photograph some of the most remote and beautiful places on earth, so anyone can explore them from anywhere. It will provide a scenic virtual view of Nrityagram and that’s the closest to actually being here!”
Vinay Goel, product head, Google India, said, “We decided to start driving in Bengaluru because it is the IT capital of India, and we feel that the IT savvy users will be able to leverage the benefits of the product to the fullest. Street View is useful for urban development planners, law enforcement agencies, househunters, and travelers.”
He added, “It lets users check out restaurants before arriving, make travel plans and arrange meeting points. Businesses can also benefit from the Street View technology by embedding Google Maps directly into their site for free. Hotels can use it to show off the convenience of their location, and restaurants can use it to raise awareness.”
Google has developed a technology that effectively blurs human faces and number plates of vehicles to render them unidentifiable. The company has said that its Street View is designed to comply with all local laws including those related to security and privacy in India.
Vinay Goel added, “We are committed to balancing the needs of our users with concerns about security. At Google we recognise the sensitivity associated with certain locations and are committed to working with relevant stakeholders to ensure that their concerns are addressed.”