Google's Open Location Codes can now be searched on both Google and Google Maps.
In April, Google Maps released Plus Codes — or Open Location Codes (OLC) — to identify hard-to-find locations across the globe.
Starting today, Plus Codes can now be searched both on Google Maps and Google so that users can find places that are difficult to locate due to poor data accuracy or coverage or place that do not have a specific street address.
These codes become extremely helpful in places with high population density but poor data accuracy or coverage, or those that lack a specific addressing system altogether. Kathmandu, Nepal, has a population of around one million people, but most roads have no names, and houses have no street numbers. Being able to precisely navigate without local knowledge is difficult. Plus codes will now let you easily specify your destination.
- Google Maps Blog
To find a Plus Code, visit http://plus.codes and share your location. The site automatically pinpoints where you are and provides a code similar to the following 7MV7P8R9+W2 code for Kathmandu (the abbreviated P8R9+W2 code will show if you’re already in Kathmandu):
If you search for the same 7MV7P8R9+W2 Plus Code on Google, the first result is a map of Kathmandu with a marker on the specific location:
Google points out that Plus Codes are beneficial for a number of reasons, from finding friends at the beach to providing crisis response organizations with more accurate location data.
Rumors have been flying that Google+ is going to be discontinued due to its lackluster performance, but its recent launch of new features may be hinting at a mere shift of gears.
Now, it's really difficult to gauge the situation because Google is not very fond of sharing user numbers. However, estimates put its total users to 2 billion, with a mere 9% having public content. What's more, only 6 million of those have posted this year -- apparently, most of those user profiles are just created due to Google requiring one before you can sign up for YouTube or Gmail. Sure the place is nice but it's also practically a ghost town. The only advantage, it seems, is in the presumed SEO value that you can get from having your content on it.
"If the public activity on Google+ really is this small, surely it can't have much value to Google, and they must be planning to shut it down or dismember it, right?" said Eric Enge of Stone Temple.
Many naysayers are already foretelling that launching Streams, Photos and Collections features is Google's last ditch effort before shutting down altogether. On the flip side, if it's really dying, perhaps it is counterintuitive that new features are added to it?
While it is still unclear just how Google will use Streams and Photos, the Collections feature would be one similar to Pinterest. It will basically be a group of content based on a certain subject or interest that any other user can opt to follow. Unlike Pinterest though, Plus' Collections are not limited to images but can be anything from text updates to videos. Also, any collection by a user can be set to be public, private or shared with a certain group of connections. According to the tech giant, Collections came about because of observed user behavior -- getting connected around a shared interest.
Although it is not certain that launching those features would significantly engage users more, there are lessons to be taken away from this. First off, you should be all-present in all major social media platforms and not just focusing on one. So just in case Plus really would dismantle, you won't have to scramble to start over again on a different platform.
Also, make sure your content works well on the various platforms your target audience is on. Make different kinds of content and customize it for each one.
Lastly, don't rely on social media to safeguard your data for you. It would be a good thing to have your own website, or at least your own server where you can store every single file, without having to worry about social media scares.