Traffic passes through Sitabuldi market street in Nagpur, India. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
INTERNATIONAL - Google’s wants to help users in India get around -- no mean feat given the country’s often byzantine address system.

The Alphabet Inc.-owned search giant unveiled an open-source project that aims to make sense of the chaos of India’s hyper-growth cities: a shifting warren 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 is tackling the project as part of its own search for the next billion users. Non-standard addresses now increase the costs of running all types of commerce from ride-hailing to online retailing and food delivery. While touting its benefits in India, the system will be rolled out globally.

A logo stands above the entrance to Google Inc.'s Kings Cross office in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. After being criticized for not paying its fair share of British tax, Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit is trying to show it’s a good corporate citizen by offering five hours of free digital skills training to all U.K. residents. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Plus Codes -- in a ‘6-character + city’ format -- can be generated and shared by anyone on Google Maps, while apps that use location services can incorporate those codes on their own platforms. And a user can enter the Plus Code into searches to call up a location. Google Maps is also adding voice navigation in six more Indian languages, after introducing Hindi three years ago.

“In India, we know how challenging it can be to reach a given residential address,” said Suren Ruhela, director of Google Maps Next Billion Users. “The other reality is that millions of people and places in India are hard to locate -- especially those in remote areas.”