The company is introducing voice navigation in six Indian languages including Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam. It had earlier added Hindi support three years ago.
Google is also bringing its open source addressing system called Plus Codes to India. First announced in August 2015, this system is based on dividing the geographical surface of the Earth into tiny ‘tiled areas’ and attributing a unique code to each of them.
The code will be in a ‘6-character+city’ format that can be generated shared and searched by users on Google Maps. Users can simply search the plus code on Google or Google Maps to find the particular location.
Since the codes are open source, apps using location services will also be able to incorporate these codes to their platforms, the company said in a statement.
“At Google Maps, our objective has always been about organizing all location-related information, and making it more accessible and relevant for Indian users. Address search is critical for delivering on this mission” said Suren Ruhela, Director, Google Maps Next Billion Users.
“In India, we know how challenging it can be to reach a given residential address. They are unique in format, and vary across regions, localities, and use cases. 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. The other reality is that millions of people and places in India are hard to locate — especially those in remote areas.”
To address this, Google is introducing a Smart Address search feature, that aims to provide the best estimate of an address location through nearby landmarks and points of interest. The company is also introducing an ‘Add an address’ feature that enables users to submit new or missing addresses to the platform.
In December, Google introduced a two-wheeler mode on Google Maps to offer navigation routes that are optimized for two-wheeler drivers.