How to decode addresses into coordinates and vice versa

Webapps in geographical context, often comprise the problem that postal addresses have to be converted into coordinates, in order to use them for navigational purposes. Also the other way round is sometimes required, like finding an appropriate address on the base of a given set of coordinates. Implementing an own coordinates to address converter is usually impossible for Webapp Designers or Programmer's, as it means to maintain a huge amount of data, as well as sophisticated algorithms to access the geographic data.

geocoding challenge in php

i have two addresses which i can quite easily display within a google map i integrated into my web application. now i would like to calculate the distance of the two addresses. is there any service easily to use which returns the distance i am looking for or i can use to find out if the second address is within a given range from the first one?
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