In 2014, Google launched the “Open Location Code” project as an alternative to street addresses that are “more user-friendly than latitude and longitude.” Google Maps is now introducing a faster way to access and share “Plus Codes” on Android.
Plus Codes are based on latitude and longitude, but use 10 or 11 alphanumeric sequences. The name is derived from the ‘plus’ sign in front of the last two letters / digits. Mostly, you’ll see Plus Codes with the last 6 or 7 characters combined with a locality identifier (city, state or city, country). Examples are:
- Googleplex: CWC8+Q9 Mountain View, California
- Hollywood Sign: 4MMH+J9 Los Angeles, California
- Central Park: Q2MM+4V New York
You can now access the Plus Code for your current location by taping the blue dot that represents where you are. This opens the blue screen where you’ve always been able to see nearby places, share your location, and save your parking space.
These three shortcuts and tapping copies to your clipboard are now listed in the Plus Code. In the past, getting the code required opening the location list — by dropping a pin — and then scrolling through other location details.
When sharing Plus Codes, others will be able to enter it in Search or Maps and get directions. The technology behind this system is open-source, with Google claiming that there are no licensing fees. This effort is meant to provide “an address for all” as more than 2 billion people around the globe “have no address or address that isn’t easy to locate.”