Episode 07: What3words and why

Featured Episode: Episode 07: What3words and why

What is what3words? what3words is a really simple way to talk about location. We have assigned each 3m square in the world a unique 3 word address that will never change. For example, filled.count.soap marks the exact entrance to what3words’ London headquarters. 3 word addresses are easy to say and share, and are as accurate as GPS coordinates.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Why you should use a 3 word address for package deliveries to your home.
  • Why you should have a 3 word address for your business.
  • Why you should use a 3 word address while at a sporting event.
  • Why you should have the What3words app on your phone

“If you’re ordering a pizza to your home, if you’re getting a package delivered from something you’ve bought online, if you want to get a taxi to somewhere ; we want you to be able to put in a three-word address just as if you were putting in something else, but knowing that it’s far more accurate and far easier, and just works wherever you are in the world” – Chris Sheldrick

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With what3words, Chris Sheldrick and his team have divided the entire planet into three-meter squares and assigned each a unique, three-word identifier, like insisting.cycle.minutes, which will take you right to the main door (at the time this podcast was published) or provider.enjoyed.plot which will take you right to the scale house door at Real Alloy in Wabash, Indiana, giving a precise address to the billions of people worldwide who don’t have one.

Examples of where this is beneficial:

  • Truck drivers – pinpoints exact docks and delivers locations.
  • Emergency services, when they are trying to find a location where they need to get to a farmer who had a heart attack in a hayfield in 1000 acres.
  • When you take your family to a football or baseball game, marking where you parked your car can save time if you need to call AAA to jumpstart your car.
  • When you’re at a rest stop or truck stop and you order a pizza, they can deliver it directly to you.

Search engine integration:

My favorite search engine is Duck Duck Go and they use What3words. This is how you use it in Duck Duck Go:

  1. Go to duckduckgo.com In the search bar type in “!w3w (and the 3 word address you want to find) Example:
  2. “!w3w name.oldest.memo” will put you in the middle of Times Square in NYC.
    1. You can see all of DDG’s “bangs” here https://duckduckgo.com/bang
    2. The bang for “what3words” is “w3w”.
    3. To use it in search you must use “!w3w”.

I am usually asked next “Well why do I need to use what3words when I use Google Maps?

what3words isn’t a navigation app like Google Maps. As I said earlier, it’s a global addressing system that makes it simple to communicate exact locations. You can use what3words alongside Google Maps to navigate to precise destinations and to save and share exact locations faster and more easily than ever before.

Google Maps usually isn’t helpful if you want to navigate directly to a specific building entrance or location in a park. This is because when entering a street address into Google Maps, a pin typically drops in the center of a building or postcode, rather than an exact location. I had a horrible experience with it years ago when I was working for Diamonds Limousine service and had to drop off a client and took them to the wrong location which was about 20 miles off course. Embarrassing for both me and our company.

While a 3 word address cannot yet be typed straight into Google Maps, it is easy to find a 3 word address in the what3words app and then navigate to that destination via Google Maps or your preferred navigation app. If you use the What3words app you can then navigate with it through Google maps. Here is a link to a 7-second video showing you how.