With Google’s recent announcement that it plans to street map Bangalore and make it available over Google Maps, I started wondering if it would be the streets that would get mapped or the people.
For those familiar to Street Map technology, Google mounts special cameras on top of vehicles and the vehicles are driven down streets. The cameras take panoramic pictures which are combined together to allow a Google Map user to view the street as thought he/she were standing and traversing through the street.
Doing it in India would bring in newer challenges to Google. Narrow streets, crowded alleys, where people would block the natural view of the street. Google has even introduced the special 3 wheel ‘trike’ as they call it to overcome some of these challenges.
While the west places huge emphasis on privacy, India would present to problems from the other other end of the spectrum. You will have people vying to get captured by a Street Map car and possibly hope that they get featured on Google Maps. While Google does a lot of painstaking trawling of images to discard photos that capture people’s faces, getting one clean shot without people’s faces will be a challenge in India.
Lets keep our fingers crossed and see how Google surmounts these challenges. What else do you think would Google run into as it embarks on street-mapping Bangalore?