Google Street View for Dubai is 'good news for tourists'

10/12/2014 - Hotel Industry News Posted by Neil King
Google Street View for Dubai is 'good news for tourists'

Google Street View, the service that provides users with panoramic views of cities across the world, will soon be available for Dubai - becoming the first city in the UAE to use the technology.

It will be available for the emirate's public areas and is "good news" for business owners, tourists and residents, according to Abdul Hakim Malik, director of geographic information systems at Dubai Municipality, which collaborated with the search engine giant on the project.

The service, which will blur people's faces and licence plates, will not be available in private residential areas or free zones, but will cover the most important business and tourist locations Dubai has to offer, he added.

One of the biggest benefits attached to Street View is the fact that it will indirectly promote the emirate as a must-see destination for visitors. Mr Malik continued: "Tourists are very much interested before they visit Dubai to see what Dubai looks like in real life.

"When they go to Google Maps and see 360 degrees all around important and popular streets, I think this will be interesting for them."

Using the service, prospective tourists can explore Dubai and plan what they will do when they arrive, before they have even booked their trip. It could also encourage those that had never considered going to the emirate to choose it as their next holiday destination because of the exciting things they can see on Street View.

Mr Malik is also confident that it will benefit government services and the real estate industry, as it could help prevent inspectors from making unnecessary on-site trips, for example. He expects further collaboration with Google and believes this is only the beginning.

The municipality has been in talks with the firm for about a year regarding the launch of the service, and Google hopes to roll Street View out to Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE soon, according to Najeeb Jarrar, product marketing manager at the search engine giant in the Middle East and North Africa.

He added: "We’ve seen a lot of users actually asking about Street View, when it comes to the region. We’ve even seen much more excitement when the car started driving through Dubai."