After hearing the welcome news that Google Street View was coming to India, starting from Bangalore, a lot of avid Google Maps users began to rejoice. For those who do not know, Google Street View is a great initiative by Google, wherein they aim to photograph entire cities from the roads and stitch all the images together into a seamless experience. When you are using Street View, it truly feels like you are roaming the city in person. You can look around 360 degrees. It can be invaluable to users navigating from their smartphones.
However, recently Google’s camera mounted Street View vehicles were forbidden from taking photographs in Bangalore (Bengaluru) city by the local Police.
A Google spokesman said,”We can confirm that we received a letter from the Commissioner of Police regarding Street View. We are currently reviewing it and have stopped our cars until we have a chance to answer any questions or concerns the police have. We received a letter from Bangalore’s commissioner of police and are reviewing it. We will not be collecting any more images for Street View until we speak to the police”.
Bangalore is a highly (terror) targeted, sensitive city making security concerns paramount. Google can’t take pictures of entries, exits and structures of defense, scientific and even government buildings until they have clearance from the Home and Defence ministries,” said Suneel Kumar, Additional Commissioner, Law & Order.
While we get that the Indian Government (understandably) has security concerns, we hope that it doesn’t put too many obstacles in Google’s way. Google Street View is a free service which will be invaluable to millions and millions of Indians, and it is commendable of Google to attempt such a comprehensive project in a large country like India.
As of now, Street View is available only in USA, UK, Singapore and a few other countries. This reminds us of a couple of years ago when the Indian Government had a problem with Google Maps citing that terrorists could use them. Recently, the RIM-Indian Government spat over encryption also comes to mind.
In conclusion, we hope companies do not let obstacles placed by the local authorities affect their decision to bring exciting new products and services to India as we have a huge market thirsty for such innovation.
What do you think? Will Google Street View compromise the security of our country or are their ego’s at play here? Do let us know.