This is brilliant. Google, faced with a government in India that is against maps and against Street View, appears to have found a remarkable way of introducing Street View to the country: by enabling Street View for private properties: one such initiative announced today is the availability of India’s Sula Vineyards on Street View. This was apparently launched last month, on August 16th, and allows visitors to view the vineyard, amphitheatre and the hospitality outlets, as well as the Beyond Vineyard Resport. Check the links below and and click on the little-yellow-man on the map:
This is interesting because, ideally, it shouldn’t be in the governments hands to allow or not allow owners of private properties, especially entities like resorts, factory complexes, universities and building complexes, from adding their properties on Street View. While the utility of doing this might be limited for someone visiting a city, it is still better than nothing.
What Google can do, is build a series of case studies on entities that have chosen to add their properties to Street View. There are serious privacy concerns here, but there is also significant utility, especially for tourists. Probably a really interesting situation will be if they end up partnering with a states tourism department for putting popular tourism destinations on Street View, and that will lead to a situation wherein the central government in the country might be opposed to allowing Google Street View, but a State Government signs up for it.
As we’ve mentioned before, the ban on Street View and the case against Google Maps is myopic, especially in case of Street View, when companies like VidTeq are allowed to shoot and publish videos of streets, but Google isn’t, citing security concerns.
Our coverage of the issues with Google Maps and Street Views in India:
May 26, 2011: Google To Launch Controversial Street View Project In Bangalore, India
May 27, 2011: Google On Street View In India: Permissions, Data Collection, Removal
Jun 23, 2011: Google Street View Stops Driving In India; Bangalore Police
Apr 25, 2013: Issues That Survey Of India’s Complaints Against Google’s Mapathon Raises About India’s Maps Policy