India finally has 360-degree street view, but no it is not going to be from Google. WoNoBo.com, a part of the geospatial solutions company Genesys International Corporation, has tied up with the Ministry of Tourism to give digital walkthroughs of 54 Indian cities.
The service is now available for just 12 cities with the other locations being added later.
Incidentally, in 2011 Google Streetview had been denied permission to record street level images of Bangalore over security reasons. Streetview was finally launched in India a few weeks back, but limited to monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India.
WoNoBo does the same thing as Streetview and has a lot of information that could be misused, like car number plates and addresses.
"People can request us to take down anything that they think will be detrimental to their interests," said Sajid Malik, Chairman of Genesys. Asked how he managed to do what Google couldn't, he said: "We are an Indian company and had all the necessary permissions in place before starting."
WoNoBo.com will integrate maps with millions of pictures to give a visual map of a city. So, if you want to go from Point A to Point B, you will get a visual walkthrough along with the route on map.
The Ministry of Tourism sees a huge potential for such a service among those planning to visit India. "This will add immense value to the Incredible India campaign," explained Tourism Secretary Parvez Dewan.
WoNoBo will also work on creating walkthroughs of places of interest as well as link locations to stories - like locations linked to the life of Sachin Tendulkar.
Malik said they will monetise by offering local businesses to use the platform to showcase their properties. For instance, a hotel will be able to have a walkthrough of its property linked to the city page. There will also be listing of businesses.
"We are the first urban chronicle of today's India with panoramic imagery of thousands of square kilometers," he added. The company also plans to have a strong social layer integrated to the platform.
On the launch day, however, the website appeared quite buggy with many of the locations in Delhi and Mumbai not opening. Malik said a mobile app will be launched soon.