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Launching Address Descriptors to make it easier to find addresses using landmarks in Indian cities

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Google Maps Platform has enabled a growing number of businesses in India to build informative and engaging geospatial experiences. Today at I/O Connect Bengaluru, we announced Address Descriptors, available in 25 Indian metro areas.With Address Descriptors, you can make it easier for your users to find an address by sharing the most relevant landmarks and area names relative to a geocoded point.

Addresses in many regions, including India, have a unique format. The complexities of an address–with various components like house number, area name, road name and landmark–make it harder to explain and locate. People in India are used to communicating their addresses relative to a landmark or an area name. For example, telling a food delivery driver that their apartment building is behind the local post office or calling their ride-share driver to say they’re waiting opposite a specific college is a common way of communicating addresses. 

Through our conversations with developers in India, we’ve learned that they often try to mirror this way of communicating addresses by building a landmark field into the address form. Address Descriptors shows the most relevant landmarks and area names relative to an address. This experimental feature will help communicate addresses through Reverse Geocoding API at no additional cost. It uses a combination of machine learning signals on proximity, prominence, and visibility–all informed by in-depth on the ground research–to identify and rank the most relevant landmarks and area names relative to an address.

Delivery app example

Landmarks and areas add context when sharing location in a chat

Developers in India have asked for landmark-aware capabilities, and Address Descriptors is the first feature designed for our developers building geospatial experiences for Indian cities. Using the feature, developers can build an address form that includes a pre-selected landmark and area. They also have the option to replace the suggested landmark with another from a stack-ranked list of the five most relevant landmarks.

Address entry example

Delivery address input includes a pre-selected landmark & area

With Address Descriptors, developers can save time, reduce errors and deliver a more intuitive customer experience. Imagine not having to call your food delivery driver to share a landmark near your apartment because they now have in-app access to the most relevant landmarks and/or area names near the drop-off point.  

Chat app example

Landmarks and areas add context when sharing location in a chat

Address Descriptors is currently in the experimental stage, which means we’re actively looking for feedback. Read the documentation to learn more and find out how to request the feature. If you have feedback, you can share it with us via email. If the feature is not available in your region, and you think it would be helpful, please let us know.

Just last week we made it more intuitive for developers in India to get started with Google Maps Platform capabilities like Address Descriptors. You’ll now get more context on payment mechanisms, an improved billing experience, and more guidance throughout the process. Starting later this month, a special promotion will be available to eligible new developers in India. To learn more, take a look at the FAQs and sign up to be notified when the offer is live.

We hope these changes will make it easier for developers in India to build more intuitive experiences for their customers. 

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