Google India has made a number of announcements to improve the overall Maps experience in India.
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. The main problem that the company faces in India is with residential addresses, which do not follow a fixed format and may vary from region to region.
The problem is not limited to the variation in the format as the sheer difference in the length of addresses can also throw the system off. In addition to this, a majority of addresses are hard to locate, especially those of people living in remote locations.
To solve the issue of addresses, Google has introduced a new ‘open sourced solution’ with the name ‘Plus Codes’. According to the company, ‘Plus Codes’ is a more consistent and simple addressing system that works not just across India, but works globally as well.
The Plus Codes system works by dividing the surface of the earth into small tiles or ‘tile areas’ which a unique code assigned to each tile. The Plus Code address format has 6 characters followed by a local code. Anyone can generate, share or even search for any particular location using this format with the help of Google Maps. The Plus Code format is open source, making it much easier for any app that uses location data to make use of this more consistent addressing system.
This system will make it easier for users to assign an easy, identifiable location for any complicated address. According to the Plus Codes websites, it will work as a street address for places that don’t have a street name. This will make the location address more accurate and easier to decode, making the experience seamless. This will help delivery services, emergency services or even government agencies keep track of location-based programs.
Other benefits pointed out by Google state that 'Plus Codes' is free of any licensing codes, that they will work regardless of whether user is online or offline, that the system independent of borders — ensuring that it works in ‘disputed territories’, that they can be printed as a grid on paper and finally, that it's not limited to the internet or digital devices.
Add missing address
Google has also made the process of adding missing addresses much easier with the ‘Add an Address’ feature where users can contribute to improving the Maps experience. To ensure that the addresses are accurate and not duplicated, Google will verify the added address and ensure that it ‘is searchable in due course’.
Smart Address Search
In addition to adding missing addresses, Google is also rolling out ‘Smart Address Search’ starting today, where Google Maps will give the best estimate of the location of the address by making use of landmarks, businesses or any nearby locality that is added in the address. Smart Address Search will make use of all the information in the address and then provide options that can help the user find their destination. Something similar to what users to in the real world.
Voice Navigation in six more languages
Google has also added support for Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam so that the users who speak these languages can use these languages for navigation. Krish Vitaldevara, The Product Lead for Google Maps Next Billion Users (yes, that's his official job title) added, “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”.
— Tech2 (@tech2eets) March 13, 2018