Plus Codes: Google Maps launches own version of zipcodes for Indian addresses

Plus Codes: Google Maps launches own version of zipcodes for Indian addresses

Plus Codes: Google Maps launches own version of zipcodes for Indian addresses

India has over 300 million smartphone users, we are sending probes to the Moon and Mars, and our economy is only behind USA and China in terms of scale. Prior to this the Google Maps allowed users to share locations by transmitting the Global Positioning System coordinates. The tech giant introduced "Plus Codes" which is an open sourced solution representing a simple and consistent addressing system and works not only in India but globally. This will be handy for users when they don't have a specific address.

The company is aiming to improve the address search in the country by organising the location-related information while making it more accessible and relevant. If a user is unaware of the exact address and Maps does not understand the address precisely but he or she knows about the nearby landmarks or locality, "Smart Address Search" would use all the pieces of the information provided in the address and user could best identify the area.

We are all too familiar with the hassles of scouting for an address, especially so on chaotic Indian streets. They are unique in format, and vary across regions, localities, and use cases. 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", says Ruhela.

This system works by dividing the geographical surface of Earth into tiny tiled areas that each have a unique code - called Plus Code.

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This code comprises a "Six-character + City" format that can be generated, shared and searched by anyone with access to Google Maps on a smartphone. The Google Plus code can be used to broadcast location on Social Media and also share it with friends and family.

So, how do the Plus Codes work? Places that are close together share similar plus codes, while the system is identificable by the "+" symbol in every address.

A Plus Code is 10 characters long, with a plus sign before the last two characters. It describes the area roughly of the size of a half basketball court, around 14 x 14 meters.

Remembering the plus code for an area is much simpler than burning your brain circuits while recalling the satellite coordinates. In rural locations, even if the nearest town is up to 25 kilometers away, the area code isn't needed. It specifically excels in areas not serviced by conventional identifiers, with a variety of other possible uses.The postal system of Cape Verde in Africa already supports plus codes for delivering mail. An additional accuracy of up to 3 x 3 meters can be achieved. Similarly, entering a Plus Code into the search bar also has the same result.

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If you frequently use Google Maps, you might have seen some random code written on the description pages of different locations.

How will Plus Code change the way we navigate?

How to use a plus code in Google Maps? 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. "Plus codes will now let you easily specify your destination", Sramek adds.

Google on Tuesday announced several new features for the Maps in India, including the Plus Codes feature that will allow users to share and search for addresses that do not have a formal name. In a bid to simplify and make this more efficient Google now offers the Plus Codes. The innovative approach provides the best estimate of the location of an address, when people aren't aware of an exact address.

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