In a bid to make it easy for users to find addresses and navigate, Google India on Tuesday announced a slew of updates and features on Maps, including “Voice Navigation” in six additional regional languages.
According to Google, in India, it can be challenging to reach a given residential address. 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.
“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,” Suren Ruhela, Director, Google Maps Next Billion Users, told reporters here.
The tech giant introduced “Plus Codes” — an open source solution that represents a simple and consistent addressing system and works not only in India but globally.
The feature zeroes in on an area based on the “Plus Code” which is provided by a user.
The code comprises of a “six-character + city” format that can be generated, shared and searched by anyone.
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.
“Plus Codes” depends on the concept that each place can be divided into grids. It is a free to use feature that even works when a person is offline.
Creating a “Plus Code” of a place is simple and since its an open source solution, third-party apps or developers could also use it to pinpoint the areas that they want to reach.
In another step aimed at facilitating accurate and easy searching on Maps, Google introduced “Add an address” feature that would enable users to submit a missing address and the company would make sure the address is searchable in due course after verification.
“We silently launched the feature a few days ago and found that people are already adding their addresses. This shows that people want their addresses to be searched,” Ruhela noted.
Google advised people not to include personal details or names while adding an address.
“If something like this happens, Google has technology in place to discard the added address making the experience secure,” the company executive said.
The search giant also made it simpler to search long and complicated addresses in India with “Smart Address Search”.
Ruhela said that Google India has been working to use Machine Learning (ML) to improve the “Smart Address Search” result.
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.
Google also added “Voice Navigation” in six more languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam.
The company had launched voice navigation in Hindi three years ago.