Is Google Place Autocomplete the greatest when it comes to address verification?

What is Google Place Autocomplete?

Google Place Autocomplete is Google's address validation product. It's similar to Loqate in that it boasts great real-time verification, and auto-suggests addresses across 245+countries, allowing the user to auto-select the country too.

Some businesses choose to incorporate the Google Places Autocomplete API within their online shopping carts to increase conversion rates and decrease abandoned shopping carts.

How accurate is Google's address validation?

Like Loqate, Google knows how to fuzzy match on a global scale, and in a variety of languages.

All sounds great so far, doesn’t it? But in terms of data sources, Google doesn’t validate against the likes of USPS, Canada Post, Tom Tom – only Google Street Cars. And this doesn’t always produce the best quality address data.

For example, the data update frequency is sporadic and dependent on Street Cars map updates. Also, unlike Loqate, the service doesn’t offer location biasing, meaning that accurate addresses nearest to the user’s location aren’t brought up automatically.

What about suite and apartment coverage? No, unfortunately, Google doesn't offer the most accurate data when it comes to suites and apartments, and in the USA alone Google is missing data on approximately 30 million apartments. Just think about that in terms of customer data - it's a lot, huh?

But Google Place Autocomplete is free, right?

Erm, wrong. Google’s address validation service costs nothing to those who only want to verify low volumes of addresses. But companies needing to verify higher numbers of addresses could be paying way more than necessary.

And not only that. In July 2018, Google announced that anyone using a Google Maps Autocomplete API would need to provide credit card details for each project, otherwise services would be downgraded or errors returned. 

When you consider that under the old API (which many people will still be using), Google’s definition of a ‘lookup’ is a keystroke, compared to Loqate, who defines a lookup as a selected complete address. So if you’re using Google Place Autocomplete, you could be using a lot of lookups for just one address.

So, who's the greatest when it comes to address verification?

We know it can be tricky choosing a trusted partner, especially when there are so many address verification providers out there.

Google springs to most of our minds several times a day because they do so many things so well – it has even become a verb. But despite the fact that Google's address verification service offers some really good aspects, it doesn’t offer a complete package, and there are some key elements missing.

Google is great, but when it comes to address verification - there are much better options available, and from address data experts. 

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