Next to Google Search, Maps is one of those Google products that truly changed the way we live. Getting around has become easier and pointing people to locations has become less of a hassle. That, however, usually only applies if you have an exact address at hand that’s actually searchable on Google Maps. With the addition of Plus Codes, Google Maps is now offering an alternative way to locate people using the age-old method of longitudes and latitudes.
While Google Maps covers the whole world, not all locations are clearly marked, from extremely remote locations to extremely specific houses down the street. Back in the days before advanced navigation systems, people relied on longitudes and latitudes that could locate any spot on the world with pinpoint accuracy at the expense of using cryptic numbers.
In 2015, Google launched a middle ground it called Plus Codes. It’s pretty much the same system but uses easier to read and even remember shortcodes. These are easier to type and hand out manually but Google Maps is now taking that one step further.
Users will soon be able to tap on the blue dot representing their current location and get a Plus Code for it. Alternatively, they can long tap on a spot to put a pin on it and get a code for that. These codes can be shared directly from within the app or distributed on business cards. Entering the Plus Code in Google Maps does the reverse and locates even those obscure addresses.
This simple new feature could play a vital role today when first responders need to be able to get to an emergency faster. Users can give out that location in an emergency but, hopefully, Google will tie this feature with Android’s emergency features so users won’t have to explicitly get and send a Plus Code during times they’re unable to.