Google Maps on Android is rolling out a new feature called Plus Codes. If you ever use Maps, and struggle to find an address or in some cases, two suburbs have the same road name and the courier company goes to the wrong one, ahem, then Plus Codes are super useful.
It’s a short code that you simply put into Google Maps and it takes you to the exact location (what3words works the same way) but as a Google product, it’s easier if you use Maps.
Plus Codes are alphanumeric and can be combined with a city, such as 7656+5G, Pretoria. I looked at my own Plus Code for my complex and it showed up with Sandton next to it, but I removed Sandton and put it into Maps and it still showed up.
Google says Plus Codes are derived from latitude and longitude coordinates to uniquely identify any location from rural to out in the veld to a spaza shop on an unnamed road. According to the World Bank, half of the world’s urban people live on unnamed streets, so this is going be useful for many. And this is why I love it; how much more accurate can you get?
If you’re a small business and people struggle to find you, simply share these codes on your platforms. The codes work inside Maps and Google Search, whichever way you prefer looking for places.
Here’s a quick run through on how to find it on Google Maps. Even though Google says it’s rolling out on Android, I tried it on Android and iOS and I can see Plus Codes on both platforms.
Go to any location or your own unique business location. If you’re already listed as a business, tap into that, or drop a pin and tap on dropped pin. Scroll till you see 5 blue dots shaped like a plus sign, hence Plus Codes, and there you have it. It copies automatically when you tap so you can share “V3R3+F3” to your contacts.
I like that you don’t have to type a long address. You can remove the city and it will still work.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 15 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org