Google Maps has developed an open sourced solution – Plus Codes – which represents a simple and consistent addressing system that works across India and globally. This system is based on dividing the geographical surface of the Earth into tiny ‘tiled areas’, attributing a unique code to each of them. This code simply comprises a ‘6-character + City’ format that can be generated, shared and searched by anyone — all that’s needed is Google Maps on a smartphone. The open source nature of Plus Codes means that applications that uses location services can easily incorporate it on their platforms for free.
To use a Plus Code, users need to simply enter it into the Search field on Google or Google Maps, mobile or desktop, which will instantly show a location. Plus Codes can be used for a wide variety of reasons including communicating the venue of a temporary event, guiding emergency services to afflicted locations, and providing an identifiable location for complicated addresses.
Easily add a missing address to Google Maps
In another step aimed at facilitating accurate and easy searching on Maps, Google is now introducing ‘Add an Address’ — a feature that enables users to contribute to the Maps experience from the Google Maps app. Similar to adding businesses, users can submit new or missing addresses through this feature, and Google will make sure the address is searchable in due course after verification. Moreover, users will also get Local Guides points for each valid submission.
Understanding addresses, especially in the Indian context (being so unique and varied,) has always been a relentless pursuit for Google. Google is now making it simpler to search for addresses in India, with Smart Address Search. This is an innovative approach to providing the best estimate of the location of an address: when people aren’t aware of an exact address, they just don’t give up but try to refer other information such as a nearby landmark, business or a locality to get closer to the final destination. Smart Address Search helps doing exactly that: if Google Maps doesn’t understand the address precisely, it will try to use all the pieces of information in the address and provide options of landmarks and points of interest that the user can best identify with — exactly like a person would have.
From finding to getting there – now in six additional languages
Google today is adding voice navigation in six additional Indian languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam. The company had launched navigation in Hindi three years ago.
Suren Ruhela, Director, Google Maps Next Billion Users, said “At Google Maps, our objective has always been about organizing all location-related information, and making it more accessible and relevant for Indian users. Address search is critical for delivering on this mission”.
He further added, “In India, we know how challenging it can be to reach a given residential address. They are unique in format, and vary across regions, localities, and use cases. While some addresses are well-defined by street names and house numbers that are easy to find, others can be long-winded and hard to locate. The other reality is that millions of people and places in India are hard to locate — especially those in remote areas. We are deeply committed to helping find solutions to these challenges.”
Krish Vitaldevara, Product Lead, Google Maps Next Billion Users, “India continues to inspire us, and pushes us to reimagine what Maps can do for people. And we are just getting started as we continue to build features and expand our partnerships to make the Google Maps experience more comprehensive, accurate, and reliable for our users”.