Google launches "plus codes": open geocodes for locations that don't have street addresses


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/14/wherami.html


#2

Is that just like https://what3words.com that?


#3

You beat me to it. I prefer what3word’s system, easier to remember…


#4

Google has made theirs open source as opposed to what3words’ closed source is one difference. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What3words#Critiques

Why Google didn’t just buy w3w, I don’t know.


#5

Someone at Google:
“Well, that’s $585 million well spent. I knew there was a place for that plus sign!”

("Google+ Cost $585 Million To Build " - Forbes)


#6

I’m failing to see how this is appreciably better than geohashes. What am I missing?


#7


#8

Why not just use lat-longs? 5 decimal places gives you 1m of precision. You can write it in hex digits to make it shorter. It doesn’t need a license.


#9

#10

Not just rural, this sort of thing is my wife’s family’s address in the middle of San Jose! As a bonus the address referenced a business that hadn’t been there for a while. I think she said they’ve tried to make regular addresses but it didn’t catch on.

Does everything have to be reduced to a number?


#11

Depends on how interested you are in entities without sufficient local experience being able to reach the destination, I suspect.


#12

Agree, although the Google one seems to have some logic to it, whereas what3words assigns words seemingly at random. For example, I should be able to to look at a Google address “area code” to see if two locations are close to each other. I don’t know what’s near “coffee scrapbook tickle.”


#13

The main improvement I see is the code can be shortened so you could say “JV9G+XH Amritsar” or “8J3PJV9G+XH” or if your references are all local just “JV9G+XH” will work. Don’t think there’s a way to do that with geohashes.


#14

Cannot presently do this on a desktop computer on google maps. – only on mobiles.
Also, on a mobile, after you obtain the plus code you cannot copy it for further use. Google has more work to do to make this more usable.


#15

And then the creep begins. Certain deliveries will only be made to the plus code Then all deliveries must be made with the plus code. The endgame is with Google in control of international physical addressing, displacing all other conventions, including those more democratically responsive ones.

But maybe not.


#16

FFS, every single “why not just use X?” question here is addressed on the website. The developer page even has a section headed “why didn’t you just use X?”, and links to a comprehensive survey of existing alternatives.

As for the “Google is trying to take over everything!!!” hysteria, this is completely open source, no license fees required, no centralized control of any kind. It’s just a proposal, one that makes a lot of sense, and which is supported by Google Maps.

It’s not a big deal in the first world where we all have addresses on named streets. It’s not for us.


#17

Interesting that they didn’t try the UTM or MGRS, which can specify a location within one square meter.


#18

Oh, this is new?
I didn’t realise it was new.
Been seeing this for some time in the GMaps app.

Granted, I’m in the beta program, but I didn’t know this wasn’t rolled out generally.

And, just btw, I love the principle. Because basically everybody can use GMaps, this is going to be useful. All other solutions might be better or easier to remember or whatever - but since GMaps is very easy to use, and most people know it, this might lift off.


#19

I think a key difference to what 3 words is that this just requires a lookup table/algorithm, as opposed to a web service; i.e. plus codes can be used offline.

That said, I’m disappointed that there is no error correction/detection built in, as humans are bad a transcribing this sort of thing, particularly where English isn’t the language, and/or Latin isn’t the script. It’s nice they don’t allow similar looking characters O/0 1/I or swear words (in fact, looking at the code, it looks like they trimmed the allowable characters to prevent most words - this is what you have to work with: 23456789CFGHJMPQRVWX), but that’s not the be-all and end-all; if a typist swaps two characters, then the location is wrong.


#20

will this go in large shopping centres… cough