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Google brings Street View back to India

Google brings Street View back to India


Made possible by a 2021 policy that allows data collection and licensing by local companies

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Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge

Street View has returned to select parts of India, Google announced today at an event hosted in New Delhi and on its blog. The 360-degree street-level viewpoint debuted in the country in 2011 but was then rejected by its government in 2016 due to security concerns. The navigation feature can be particularly useful for spotting landmarks that might help you find your way around.

According to Google’s blog post, this feature is rolling out in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Vadodara, Ahmednagar, and Amritsar. Google says it expects to provide Street View to 50 Indian cities by the end of 2022.

Exactly how Street View is relaunching in India is the most fascinating part of this story. Instead of getting permission to operate its own Street View cars across India, Google is partnering with local companies, including Genesys International and Tech Mahindra, to supply the images. Notably, this is the first time that Google has tapped into local third-party data to provide Street View imagery.

TechCrunch says that Google credits India’s geospatial policy, enacted in 2021, for aiding in Street View’s return. It allows local entities to collect data like maps and images, which can then license the data to companies like Google.