Google Street View comes to India

Posted by Mark Raby

Google's infamous Street View cars are invading the streets of India.

The country of more than one billion people will soon be able to plug in a local address and see a panoramic view of the area. It is the latest expansion for a service that already exists in more than 25 countries around the world.

Google pointed out Street View is not only useful for residents of India but also for anyone who wants to see what the streets are like there.

"It will be as good as walking down the street from the comfort of your desktop or mobile device," the company said in a statement.

The company will be sending out both cars and smaller, more maneuverable three-wheelers to scope out as many parts of India as possible. The starting point will be the city of Bangalore, an affluent area of the country where many technology companies are located.

Street View was first launched in the US, in 2007, and even though it has become an extremely popular feature and has rapidly expanded over the past few years, including street-level pictures of Antarctica, it has also been met with controversy. Privacy advocates have questioned the legality of taking thousands of images on the streets, many of which capture candid shots of people who are forever immortalized on Google's servers.

The company also apparently poked into Wi-Fi networks as the vehicles ran through the streets to maintain an Internet connection. Because of this, regulators in France fined Google around $142,000. Nevertheless, there is no end in sight for the Street View project.