Location-based services are changing -- and it just may make a measurable impact for advertising targeting.
Google has quietly developed a way to locate people worldwide without a physical address for a variety of reasons. The most critical, according to Google, is the ability to administer healthcare measures.
A series of videos posted to YouTube explains the Plus Codes pilot for healthcare programs. The idea is that a physical address can not only help people find a home to deliver mail and packages, but can connect communities and emergency services, as well as administer vaccinations and boosters for children and adults.
Many people in the world live on a road without a street address. That goes for most of the people in the world who live in cities or reside on a road without an official name, says Doug Rinckes, Plus Codes Developer at Google, and it makes access to health services nearly impossible.
Plus Codes is a digital grid system -- an algorithm based on latitude and longitude and developed by Google Maps. It can hone in on locations as small as 13 x 13 meters. “In a humanitarian crises, Plus Codes can become useful in a number of ways,” Rinckes says. “If someone fails to show up for a booster or vaccination, a community healthcare worker can be given their Plus Code and they can go directly there."
The grid system is a digital reference to location that does not depend on roads, house numbers or the quality of maps.
For example, the Plus Code GVQF+CC in India locates an address in a dense area of Pune, India. “It’s a way to put yourself on the map,” Google says.