Google Street View Runs Into Indian Roadblock

Google has bumped into problems with Street View in yet another country. This time it’s India.

According to website MediaNama, three weeks after it began driving the local police commissioner in Bangalore notified Google that it must stop photographing the city until a number of issues can be resolved.

Google told the publication it had obtained police permission before commencing Street View photography. The legal questions raised by the Bangalore police revolve around the legality of “foreigners or foreign firms” doing extensive photography on the scale of Street View in India.

A related issue involves the designation of Street View as a form of “new media,” which apparently implicates foreign investment rules in Indian media. Google therefore might need an Indian joint-venture partner to carry out Street View in the country.

The roadblocks in India are just the latest in a long string of legal and political challenges to Street View. Google has had its share of negative PR and legal headaches in multiple countries in Europe, South Korea and now India.

Google has never released stats specifically on Street View usage, although it claims high engagement from users. There’s also no direct monetization of Street View. But the value of the product to the company has got to be significant given the hundreds of millions of dollars Google has spent developing and rolling it out across the globe, not to mention the costs associated with defending Street View in numerous jurisdictions around the world.

Image from Indiaoncars, used with permission.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Outside US | Google: Street View

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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