back to article Google uses India to test ‘deliver to the house near the post office’ feature

Google's Indian operation will test a feature that would offer navigation based on mentions of landmarks – kind of the way people do. In Google's outline of this "address descriptors" feature, product managers Malvi Hemani and Pinkesh Patel explain "People in India are used to communicating their addresses relative to a …

  1. Headley_Grange Silver badge


    Pre- GPS we had a couple of Americans working for us and they said that at first they found it odd the way Brits gave directions; "..past the station, left on the next roundabout, right at the third set of lights..." etc., whereas in the US it would be " ..left on 3rd, right on Madison, ...etc." Then they realized why: road/street names are virtually invisible to drivers in the UK whereas in many US towns they are of a size and placement where they can be read from the car.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Directions

      Pre-Satnav my parents used have this conversation whilst giving directions:

      "Go up the hill and then turn right at the crazy roundabout"

      "How do which know which is the crazy roundabout?"

      "Don't worry, you'll know when you get there"

      After guest had arrived:

      "Yeah, we see what you mean about that roundabout"

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: "How do which know which is the crazy roundabout?"

        I used to have friends who lived in a very long sprawling road not far from Ally Pally station. Another friend was going to some kind of party at their house and asked me for their address. I confessed that I didn't know what number they lived at, just that they were on the right hand side from the station and had a really wild front garden.

        Apparently she turned up on their doorstep and, when they opened the door she said "gosh Ken's directions were spot-on." Asked how she managed to find the house she repeated what I'd said which, luckily they found very amusing.

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Directions

      There are also the road signs placed on short posts or a low wall that you can only see as you pass the turning.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Directions

        And those roads that everyone local knows the name of but just have a number on maps - like the Dry Road (cos it's got no pubs).

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Directions

        Yep, Fareham is godawful for this, road signs on only ONE side of the road too... and as waze is worse than useless at telling you when to turn, they're still needed

  2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

    Not just India

    Last year, on holiday in Italy, I discovered I had left our Agriturismo taking the room key with me, by mistake. At our next location, I emailed the owner and asked for the postal address to send the key back. She said it would be a lot easier to send it to her mother in the nearby town as package delivery drivers can't ever find their way to the farm correctly.

    Then address she gave me was something like (in Italian, of course): "Mrs <whatever>, 78 some street, medium-sized-rural-town, next to the Marigio perfume shop". The Post Office was unfazed by the address when I went to post the key - they had a space on the address form for the additional directions and the owner let me know she had got it back about 2 days later.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Not just India or Italy

      House name carved in stone 6" high letters next to the road and drivers still used to have problems. Fair enough if they're coming down the road because it's not so easily visible then - but we've had at least one delivery to a neighbour from whose gate our house name is perfectly visible.

      And the there's the TLA delivery company which give its drivers GPS coordinates but refuses to give them the correct ones even after emailing them the Google StreetView link clearly showing that stone and from which they can take the real coordinates. As far as I can make out the drivers aren't even allowed to stop the van other than the TLA's location so the those who know the house have to part there and walk up the road.

      "Down hill: turn left at the T junction, past a field on the left, first house round the corner; Up hill: second house on the right past the farm" would be far better.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A friend of mine has no sense of direction. He also doesn't follow directions very well, which is annoying. He does use GPS, but uses an old Tom Tom that was several years out of date when he got it. He won't use any phone based GPS because we had a bad experience with Apple Maps when it was first launched, and we ended up following it's directions into a carpark. He won't have it that Apple have probably spent and awful lot of money improving Maps since then, and it's largely good, in my experience (I do use it a lot myself).

    That's annoying, but when you give him directions manually, if he believes you and allows you to give directions without referring to his Tom Tom, you can't just say "Go up the road, and take the 2nd right", You have to wait until it's the next right, and say "take the next right". If he turns too early, and you end up somewhere where you shouldn't, that's your fault (as has happened when I gave directions).

    Not surprisingly, if he offers to drive, I usually refuse now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My brother, when he moved house, would ALWAYS programme the satnav with the old and new address, start following the satnav but then he would ALWAYS turn off the route because he knew a shortcut/quicker way

      I've had to find the time it took to go from Stirling to Perth, so went to and entered 'stirling to perth' and it said 'no route'. After a bit of fiddling it turned out that (NOT com) thought I meant Perth, Western Australia, rather than a quick jaunt up the A9!

      (looks like it still does... but the ad-slinger now advises it's a 20+hr flight from from Edinburgh from £1498)

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Tried that, then tried substituting "Perth" for "Perth Scotland"

        Sorry, your search appears to be outside our current coverage area for flights.

        I know it may seem weird and alien, but we have these things called "trains", and one of them can take you from Stirling to Perth in about 30 minutes.

        Or there is a Megabus that takes about 50 minutes. They are a bit like Greyhounds.

  4. IGotOut Silver badge

    On the flip side..

    My address is pretty bloody obvious and couriers still fuck it up (hence I call bullshit when they say they couldn't find it"


    It's the bloody great church , on the high street, you know, like it says on the first two lines of the address.

    (Residential now, not still a church).


    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: On the flip side..

      Any remaining packages at the end of the day get marked as having an invalid address so the courier doesn't automatically have to refund money for missed delivery time guarantees.

  5. YetAnotherXyzzy Bronze badge

    Nothing new here. I live in a country where, like India, directions are commonly given as described. Locally developed apps have since forever prompted users to (1) mark with a pin where you live and (2) provide a text description along the likes of "two blocks down from XYZ Hardware Store, middle of the block on your right". The delivery scooter driver sees both. Works fine. Don't know why Google thinks they've invented hot water or something.

  6. ThatOne Silver badge

    SeeGull – a database of offensive stereotypes

    Jeez, I had a quick look in it (it's a CSV file), and besides the usual stuff (Americans are fat, Mexicans are drug dealers, Germans are nazis) there is also a lot of really "WTF" stuff in there. For instance, why is "french are good at wine" an offensive stereotype (probably considered offensive by Californian wine growers)? "Greeks are ancient"? Well, those I've personally met were actually of all ages, but it's hard to argue Greece had a very ancient civilization, what's supposed to be "offensive" about that?

    Brave new world...

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: SeeGull – a database of offensive stereotypes

      Left-wing Americans, (or at least my friends), have a thing about stereotypes. (Maybe Republicans have the same problem, but none of my friends are Republicans.)

      They just regard all stereotypes as offensive, along the lines of "informal or idiomatic words used to identify groups of people", which they regard as positively evil.

      I don't know why this is so, but it is related to their enormous sensitivity to "race", which, oddly enough, leads them to be "non racist" by viewing every subject through the prism of "race".

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like