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I'm not a huge fan of their service for copyright reasons, they don't publish a database of the words (https://support.what3words.com/hc/en-us/articles/207769875) and the whole thing is copyrighted so you can't reuse it. It makes it pretty much useless as an universal address system for this reason.

Also on the downsides, I don't know for other languages but in French the words are NOT common words and a good half of them would require a dictionary for a native speaker, making the address system useless.




Moreover it is absolutely not locality sensitive, rendering the whole system into a proprietary hashing algorithm. Probably the localization is pretty much the only element I agree to be good to have, but I believe it's likely that some word pairs are in the same synset for some languages, even though I'm not really in a position to evaluate its wordlists.


I'm not sure I understand their idea of localization.

The center of Vienna is "decays.jump.graver" (if those are simple words is questionable).

But when I switch to German the same block becomes "fahrende.hügeligen.ansprüche" (driving, hilly, demands). So the words I get by default are again just random strings for someone who doesn't speak German)

And even someone who speaks German may get the inflection of the words wrong and end up in "fahren.hügelig.ansprüche", "fahrend.hügelige.ansprüche" or any other permutation of the many ways the same word could be written in another context.

And worst of all, all those permutations exist and map to other locations somewhere on earth.


You are correct, it's a horrible implementation of an otherwise good idea.

Personally I want a public domain list of 2^k distinct words of distinct and unambiguous enough meanings, that are then translated to many other languages and evaluated for the same criteria (in reality, such system will be required to begin with as many languages as possible). My best guess is that k=10 is possible with a lot of efforts.


> And worst of all, all those permutations exist and map to other locations somewhere on earth.

To be honest they did give a thought about this, as apparently close sounding words are supposed to map to places that are far apart.

It makes sense, as you should at least know if you're looking for a place in Austria or Burkina-Faso, but it also means that if you heard the words wrong then you depend on their algorithm to find a slightly different-sounding address that is the one you were looking for, instead of a more intuitive system where you could just around because if it sounded the same then it should be closer.

And since the word list is proprietary, you really entirely depend on them. Their website shows three different suggestions, the one you typed and two close sounding ones.

Tough luck if you typed "duper.listons.égalisons" and the actual address was "duper.listons.égalisation", you won't get it in the suggestions.


Yeah, I have explored just a bit and seeing addresses like "rotateur.patois.postier" next to "dater.postant.ânier" (... what? ânier?) feels like these things would be very error prone, it almost looks like they gave similar sounding words to close addresses, but actually not.

The words in different languages also aren't translations, they are completely different, which adds a layer of confusion. I really don't see this going anywhere.


Note the simple words are assigned to populated areas. In the ocean it might give you "overripe.thoroughbreds.salads".


In French, on their map demo which centers the map in Paris, it's already pretty bad. I honestly have no idea what some of the words mean.

Edit: A few examples taken randomly of mostly unused words in French (require a dictionary for a good 90% of native speakers): Volute, redise, dépiler, rapière, ânier, putatif, toison. All of that is in the center of Paris, and it took me 5 mins to find them, there's probably hundreds of rare words.


I have no idea how they chose their words, you will get things like the words you listed, say "ânier" which is apparently a donkey-driver, or "chatière" (a cat flap) but their dictionary doesn't even include just "âne" or "chat" (donkey and cat respectively) which are words anyone would know.

This is completely absurd.


I honestly have no idea what some of the words mean.

Do you need to? If you don't speak the appropriate language you won't know the meaning of the words for any place. That doesn't make it any less useful so long as you can pronounce them.


I French this is extremely important.

For one we have plenty of homphones. Is it saut, seau, sôt sceau ?

Then if you do not know a word, say châtière, it can become chattière.

So only homophonically unique words and well known ones should be used


But you need to know how to write the word and in which grammatical case the word is or otherwise you end up on the wrong end of the earth because every homophone also maps to a real location.


The main goal of this project is to have memorable words instead of a meaningless address name, if that's not any better than the existing system, why would we use it?




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