Google suspends Street View service in Bangalore

Jun 22, 2011

In a setback to its global mapping project, internet search giant Google on Tuesday said that it has suspended its 'Street View' service in Bangalore following an order from the police.

"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," Google spokesperson said.

Last month, Google had launched its Street View service in India and had begin collecting images of streets by driving across the city in specially designed cars and trikes, (three-wheel pedi-cab) possessing high resolution cameras on top of the vehicle.

The images were to be made available at a later date in Street View on Google Maps.

It is believed that Bangalore police has objected to the data collection Google's cars due to security concerns.

India is not the first country where this project by Google has faced trouble. Last year Google came under probe from several European nations following its Street View vehicles inadvertently collected email addresses, passwords and other personal information from Wi-Fi networks.

Street View, which was launched in 2007, is a popular feature of Google Maps and is already available in more than 27 countries.It allows users to virtually explore and navigate a neighbourhood through panoramic street-level images.

Google, however, had earlier said that in order to protect privacy, the vehicles will capture images of public places alone and blur out faces of people and number plates of vehicles to make them unidentifiable.

Moreover, Google had said that it would be extremely responsive to any request received from a user for additional blurring of any image that features on the web.
It had said that Street View is designed to comply with all local laws, including those related to security and privacy in India.

Bangalore is the IT hub, where Google employs thousands of people. The city has various organisations such as DRDO, HAL and ISRO and the fear could be that overall view of the roads leading to them could be used by a various anti-social elements in the future.