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Google Maps get Plus Codes in India to make navigation simpler

Google Maps will also support voice navigation in six additional Indian languages

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Google unveiled an open-source project that aims to make sense of the chaos of India’s hyper-growing cities: a shifting web of hidden alleys, ever-changing landmarks, and missing street signs. Called Plus Codes, it’s a location-based digital tagging system that divides the landscape into tiles and assigns a unique code to each, making navigation easier.

Google Plus Codes are based on the concept that the world can be divided into small grids, each of which gets assigned a unique code to ensure a more consistent address system. On Google Maps, Plus Codes assign six characters to a location plus the city name. According to Google, each Plus Code represents a unique geographical location.

For example, instead of typing out the long address for an office, the Plus Code can be shared with people. Typing in the code in Google Maps or even in Google Search will take you to the location. The seven-string code is unique to the location, on a global scale.

The project used to be called “Open Location Codes” which worked as an alternative to using latitude and longitude. It worked like a street address for places that don’t have a specific address. But back then, it could only be seen on the desktop application of Google Maps.

Plus Codes may be the future, but it’s still far out. Plus Codes are not replacing the traditional street addresses in India anytime soon. And for that too, Google has a solution. Using machine learning, Google will parse the addresses to find known landmarks or a familiar street name to get the user as close as possible to the destination.

Google has made the process of adding missing addresses much easier with the “Add an Address” feature wherein users can contribute to improving the Maps experience. To ensure that the addresses are accurate and not duplicated, Google will verify the added address and ensure that it “is searchable in due course.”

Google has also added support for Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam so that the users who speak these languages can use these languages for navigation.

While the Plus Codes feature has been rolled for the Android version of Google Maps, the iOS version of the app will get the feature later.

Apps

Google is under investigation for abusing Android

Dominating the market comes with a price

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Google has often been accused of monopolizing the smartphone market with the use of Android. While Android as an operating system is open source and anyone is free to make or use the system however they wish, Google’s push of its apps is a bigger problem.

Android is maintained by the search engine giant and the code is available for everyone’s use. But, Google pushes its range of apps in stock Android like Gmail, Maps, Play Music, YouTube, and more. Many accuse the company of forcing itself upon users and blocking the competition from a fair chance.

India’s Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been reviewing Google’s case for the last six months. The enforcement agency is currently at a preliminary stage and no official release has been made. Google, as well as CCI, have declined to comment.

The European Commission found Google guilty of dominating the market since 2011 and it’s abusing its standard practice of installing Google apps. The investigation led to a US$ 5 billion fine from the antitrust agency.

Google and CCI have met in recent months and the complaint was filled by a “group of individuals.” The agency has a track record of taking years to finish or conclude a case and we never know when a verdict might actually come.

Although, the CCI did impose a US$ 19 million fine on Google for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position.

Android has a massive 85 percent market share and almost every Android phone ships with Google’s suite of apps. These apps, in return, help the search engine push ads to the user and generate revenue for the company.

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EA is looking into making a mobile version of Apex Legends

To battle with Fortnite

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Image credit: EA

EA‘s battle royale game is a certified hit. Apex Legends, which was developed by Titanfall makers Respawn, has no fewer than 25 million registered players in just one week. The game is playable for free on multiple platforms (PC, PS4, and Xbox One), but why not make it available on mobile as well?

Early reports don’t indicate mobile plans for the game, although during the Electronic Arts Q3 2019 earnings call, EA Games CEO said that they are looking into bringing Apex Legends to mobile devices.

Fortnite‘s userbase ballooned when it became available on Android and iOS, so it’s a no brainer than EA also wants mobile gamers to join the fun.

“We are looking at how to take the game to mobile and cross-play over time, and I also expect that this game will have tremendous value in Asia, and we’re in conversations about that,” EA Games CEO Andrew Wilson said during the conference call.

There’s no definite timeline for the release of Apex Legends on mobile, but it’s certainly on the drawing board. For now, EA plans to introduce direct purchase options for players to buy items and new legends or heroes. They will also offer the so-called Apex Packs or simply loot boxes for more random items.

Apex Legends is not a pay-to-win game, so these items are purely cosmetic and can be used to customize your hero’s looks in the game.

SEE ALSO: Apex Legends hits 25 million players after one week

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Introducing Bumble’s Spotlight: Pay to get to the top of the page

For just two Bumble coins!

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You can’t buy your way to true love but you can now buy a top spot on Bumble’s swipe page.

You heard that right. Bumble just announced their new feature and they’re calling it Spotlight. For two Bumble coins, which is around US$ 2, you can get your own profile to the top of the swipe page — the most conducive spot for swiping. Your profile stays there for 30 minutes and people won’t even know you paid for the extra airtime.

Similar to Tinder Boost, this new feature allows for a bigger shot at better swiping results. It basically bumps you up in the queue. Remember, though, that you can only pay for being more visible on the app, but the swiping is still left to the other party.

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