No Google Street View for Indians; Govt Cites Security Concerns!


Google Street View Taj Mahal

In a very direct and firm note, Indian Government has rejected Google Street View’s expansion plans in the country. Thus, Google would not be able to cover Indian cities, monuments and tourist locations using Google Street View.

As per reports coming in, Defense Ministry has categorically rejected Google Street View ambitions as it will compromise nation’s security and pose threat to our safety. Reportedly, Defense Ministry along with Indian Air Force, Military Intelligence, Navy, Army and Intelligence Bureau have ‘unanimously rejected’ Google Street View’s expansion.

An unnamed Senior Govt. official said, “The main concern was security of sensitive defence installations. The Defence Ministry said it was not possible to monitor the service once it was launched and it would be detrimental to national security,”

Google Street View was launched in 2007 in USA, covering 5 cities with an aim to give its users an“feet on the ground” experience to view places without going out of home. In 2010, Google Street View’s reach expanded to Antarctica, where users viewed Penguin colonies, a rare scene not possible without reaching that remote continent.

As per latest data, Google Street View has covered 7 million+ miles, encompassing 65+ countries across all 7 continents. Using 360-degree, panoramic and street-level 3D imagery, Google Street View covers cities, deserts, tourist locations and literally every geographical location. The image capturing is mostly done by a specialized camera-mounted car, but Google has also used trekker, tricycle, walking, boat, snowmobile, camel, and underwater apparatus for the same.

Last year, Google Street View covered the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, mainly for the Rio Olympics which would held this year.

Google Street View Initiatives in India

In India, Google Street View was banned in 2011 after concern from military and police. However, in 2013, Google Street View was allowed to cover monuments and tourist locations.

Since then, Google launched several interesting initiatives in India related with Google Street View, such as Imagery collection and twitter stream; DIY 360º Virtual Street View Tours and more.

Last year, we reported that Taj Mahal is the most popular destination for Google Street View users. These were the top 10 tourist destinations which people viewed on Google Street View: Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Agra Fort, Lavasa, Lovely Professional University, Humayun’s Tomb, Shaniwar Wada, Jantar Mantar, IIT Bombay.

At the same time, Google planned to add 31 more archeological sites into their repository such as Gateway of India in Mumbai, Sun Temple in Konark, Odisha, Mysore Palace, Mysore, Nalanda University, Bihar.

Last year, we had reported that Hyderabad would be the first Indian city to be fully covered by Google Street View. But with the latest update from Indian Govt., it seems that all such plans would be quashed.

It isn’t yet clear whether tourist attractions and monuments would be allowed to be covered by Google Street View or not.

Home Ministry has already uploaded the first draft of the crucial Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016, and once its finalized and approved by the Parliament, it would become clear about the fate of Google Street View in India.

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