Google Maps is launching a clever new trick to make sharing your location with friends and family much easier. To do this, Google will generate a unique six-digit code based on your location – known as a Plus Code – that’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where you are. Most clever of all, Plus Codes will work even when you’re away from traditional street addresses.
If you’ve tried to give directions to someone on the phone to help them find you in the middle of a park, you’ll be aware of how tough it can be to meet-up with friends and family without street addresses or really obvious landmarks.
That’s where Plus Codes come in.
These unique codes will be able to pinpoint your exact location. Google lets you share the code directly from within Google Maps – so you can send them in WhatsApp messages, emails, or other messages. Entering the Plus Code into the search box on the Google Maps website, or the smartphone or tablet app will get you directions straight to your destination.
Plus Codes even work offline, which is handy – especially if you’re abroad and trying to avoid costly roaming add-ons.
And Plus Codes won’t only be used to find friends and relatives hanging out in the park. There are some hugely important benefits of this technology. According to data gathered by Google, more than two billion people across the world currently live in an area without a traditional street address or postcode.
As well as making it tough for friends to find one another, the Mountain View-based company says a lack of addresses can even cause huge problems for emergency services when it comes to responding to incidents.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has talked about Plus Codes being an important part of making Maps work for more people around the world.
Speaking back in February, Pichai said: “With a digital address, more people will be able to access things like banking and emergency services, receive personal mail and deliveries, and help people find and patronize their businesses. It’s still in early days, but we’re excited about the potential.”
Although the technology powering Plus Codes has been baked into Google Maps for a while, it has never been easy to access. With the latest update, Google is putting Plus Codes front-and-centre. Tapping on the blue dot that denotes your current location will reveal the exact Plus Code as well as latitude, longitude, and a street address …if there is one.
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