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Formation of new laws should not affect innovation – Suren Ruhela, Google Maps

India: Formation of a new law or a regulation should not affect the pace of innovation, said Suren Ruhela, Director, Google Maps, in reply to a query on the proposed Geospatial Information Regulation Bill in an interview to the Hindu.

“The entire space around location services is very dynamic… the ecosystem is still evolving,” said Ruhela, with adding that some of concerns that governments had about the security were not specific to one country.

Ruhela said that being a global firm, Google abided by the law of the land. “When it comes to specifically, something like GIRB, I would say that government is promoting location services in a lot of ways.”

“The government clearly recognises that location service is a big enabler for implementation of schemes, delivery of government services. We have to balance somewhere to see that regulations or laws should not scuttle the pace of innovation. This government is very progressive. I am sure these aspects will be looked at,” he said.

According to the draft Bill, anyone before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India, would require an approval from the government. The draft also proposes heavy fines in cases of violations.

Now, Google rolled out new features recently, to aid easier navigation using Google Maps, including voice navigation in six languages – Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam.

It also unveiled ‘Plus Codes’ – a system based on dividing the geographical surface of the earth into tiny ‘tiled areas’, attributing a unique code to each of them.

These codes can then be shared to aid navigation in instances such as communicating the venue of a temporary event, guiding emergency services to afflicted locations, and providing an identifiable location for complicated addresses.