I was using Google Maps the other day, when a popup surprised me. Something about joining Local Guides. Now, I have been using Google Maps since the beginning and I had never seen anything about local guides, so I signed up.
Turns out Google created the program back in 2015. It is a gamified way of getting more reviews and places and pictures onto Google Maps.
You get points for doing various actions and the reward for those points is… minimal. 😁 A free tshirt when the program was starting, some Google Drive space at high levels.
The program is definitely added on top of the maps, and not highlighted very well. Even after I signed up, I was not sure how to access the local guides features in maps.
I haven’t figured it out on the app yet. But on the desktop, you can get there by clicking the hamburger menu (which I had never noticed before) and clicking on ‘My Contributions’
They program is pretty developed. Google provides a website where you can talk to other local guides which seems to have good participation.
Local Guides Connect
Auto-suggest helps you quickly narrow down your search results by suggesting possible matches as you type.
Google has some huge advantages in populating their map with reviews and details. Because of their other apps like Google Photos, they know when you took pictures at certain places. This was an automated suggestion to add my photos to a location.
Soon they could (if they are not already) use machine learning to preemptively identify your best pictures and prompt you to add those.
Google can also use search intent to prompt you. If tons of people search for a place that doesn’t have good reviews, and from tracking your location they know you went there, they could prompt you to review.
Well Done Google
So if you like writing reviews this could be a cool program. I don’t know how much I will participate but I think it is a great idea, and a good execution of the program.