To make it easier for Indian users, Google Maps has rolled out a couple of new features. Indians can now add an address on Google Maps, use voice navigation in 6 Indian languages other than Hindi and enjoy two new features called Plus Codes and Smart Address Search.
To begin with, Google has now added Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu on its Voice Navigation service. Hindi was introduced in voice navigation three years back.
With the 'add an address' feature, users would be able to submit a missing address, which would reflect on the map after Google verifies it.
"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," Suren Ruhela, Director of Google Maps Next Billion User said, according to a report in Hindustan Times. The company has, however, urged users to not add their personal details or names while adding the address. If something like this happens, then Google would discard the address, making the experience secure, an executive said.
The 'Smart Address Search' feature would make the process of locating an address easier. If a user is trying to put in a long and complicated address but is not sure of the exact location, then the user can put in a landmark and Google Maps would use all the information fed to fetch the location. Ruhela mentioned that Google Maps has been using Machine Learning (ML) to improve the 'Smart Address Search' experience.
One of the most significant changes in Google Maps is the Plus Code feature. According to reports, Google observed that locating an exact given address can be challenging in India, owing to small roads and a network of gullies. Ruhela said that people and places in India are hard to locate but they are committed to finding solutions to these problems.
Plus Codes is an open source solution that revolves around the idea that the world can be divided into small grids. The feature zeroes in on a location based on the Plus Code provided by the user. In India this code comprises of 'six character + city'. Users would need to feed the code into the Search tab of Google and Google Maps for the location to show up. This feature will also work offline.
This feature will not only help users but also delivery companies, cab companies and even emergency services.
"With Plus Codes we are not saying that people are going to stop using their address over night. With Plus Codes, there are wider user cases. So how does someone explain an address, which is not there on Google Maps? It may not be about the home or work, but there are lots of other situations where these could be useful," Ruhela said, as mentioned in reports.