July 5, 2017
Some recent updates to Google’s Local Guides Program expand it to offer more levels and more ways to contribute. It will also bring new perks and overall improve the program for both contributors and users. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the Local Guides Program?
Local Guides is a program that allows anyone to sign up and contribute to Google Maps. Contributions from local guides include sharing reviews, photos, and knowledge about the places around you to help inform other people. Contributors to Local Guides can connect with other individuals who have shared passions, attend meet-ups, and be recognized for their contributions and achievements through the program. Local Guides help Google collect the reviews, map information, and photos to provide as much accurate information and feedback as possible about local businesses.
Why do people do it?
People like being part of the Local Guides program for a handful of reasons. In some cases, people with a passion for coffee shops in their city enjoy sharing information about the best places. Or in other situations, a handicapped person might enjoy sharing information about which businesses are and are not handicap friendly around the city, so that other handicapped individuals can see that information online. Here’s a blurb from Google about some passionate Local Guides:
Luis Duran, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is passionate about helping people with disabilities better navigate and explore his city. Kim Flowers, in Melbourne, Australia, believes everyone should think locally and prides herself on helping businesses in her community. Chioma James from Lagos, Nigeria, is working to ensure that victims of sexual crimes can easily find necessary resources like hospitals, police stations and counseling centers. All three of these individuals are Local Guides—people from around the world who help their communities by adding reviews, photos and updated location information to Google Maps.
What’s new about the program?
There are a handful of new perks and features coming to the Local Guides program. Previously, all contributed information was weighted the same. That means that if a Local Guide answered a question, updated a map, added a photo, etc., it was all worth the same amount. Now, these contributions will be weighted differently according to value.
Previously the program only had 5 Levels for Local Guides to achieve and unlock through points from their contributions. Now, there are 10 levels, with unique achievements badges for levels 4-10 that recognize Local Guide for theirs contributions. It also helps users quickly identify Local Guides who contribute the most. You can learn more about this in the video they released:
Changes in Incentives
Per a write-up from SearchEngineJournal, Google used to give out more rewards for contributions from Local Guides. In comparison to the two years of a free terabyte of cloud storage they used to award for reaching level four, the rewards of badges and discounts in the Google Play store seem lackluster in comparison. However, the incentive to connect with others who have similar passions and meet up with local guides who have shared affinities remains a compelling reason to participate in itself.
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