When you need to give someone your location, you usually point them to an address. Here in NYC, you often point them to an intersection instead. But sometimes an address is just difficult to find — or you don’t have one at all.
For those purposes, Google introduced Plus codes five years ago, allowing you to share your location in a short alphanumerical format, whether you simply can’t find an address or are in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem they were actually used all that much, so now Google is making it easier to share the Plus codes than ever.
Starting today on Android, whenever you want to share your exact location, you can simply tap on your blue location dot within Google Maps. Once you tap on it, you’ll see your Plus code, as well as the option to share it with others or save the location. You can also choose to share your phone number along with it.
You can also access the Plus Code for a separate location by tapping and holding on the map to drop a pin; you’ll then be able to see the plus code for that place.
These codes are searchable in both Google Maps and Google Search, so they’re a convenient way to provide a location for meetups and events without an exact address. They can also be a literal life-saver for emergency situations when you might not know your exact location.
The technology behind them is also open source, so developers are free to implement them into their own apps. Now that Google is making them more prominent, they might actually become more commonplace. The Plus Codes update is rolling out to Android users “over the coming weeks,” though for some users the feature may already be live.