Google Maps’ Local Guides Updates Points System To Improve Shared Business Info

Local Guides now earn points for rating places and checking facts from other community members, Google Director Laura Slabin says.

Given that 80 percent of US internet users turn to a search engine and the business reviews that accompany the links and location information, it stands to reason that the dominant Google Maps would seek to encourage its 30 million Local Guides to add even more details.

In order to coax greater frequency of higher quality photos, reviews, as well as corrections of outdated or erroneous business information, Google is rolling out updates to the Local Guides program. The incentives include a new point system, new levels that unlock different kinds of perks, and new ways to earn points.

“Certain kinds of contributions that have a higher impact for Google Maps users — like being the first to add a place to the map or leaving a review — earn you more points,” explained Google Local Guides Director Laura Slabin in a blog post. “In addition, Local Guides now earn points for rating places and checking facts from other community members. All points earned are shown immediately after each contribution, and are visible in the ‘contribute’ tab.”

While Facebook and Yelp also depend heavily on crowdsourced business information editing, it’s clear that such information is not always correct or credible. By gamifying the process to a greater degree, Google hopes its army of Local Guides will prove to be reliable.

And the rewards for frequent and correct Local Guide activity are real. And they’re based on tiers.

For example, Local Guides Level 2 (those with a minimum of 15 points) and above are being given early access to the new product features. They are also eligible for “occasional perks” from Google and “local perks” from partners.

There are also five new levels in the points program. Those new levels of Local Guide go from 4-to-10 (a range falls between 250 points and 100,000-plus). Those users can redeem a free three-month Google Play Music subscription and 75 percent off a rental in the Google Play Movie store.

The latest features follow the introduction of other efforts designed to secure Google Maps’ position as a premier discovery and location-based online-to-offline knowledge service.

Last month, Google My Business offered a major update for restaurant clients, allowing them to include a link to their branded websites’ menu across its search and mapping products. Almost a year ago, Google Local Guides were presented with ways to upload business places’ photos with faster ease.

More recently, Google’s Local Guides teamed up with women’s fashion subscription service Le Tote, offering a year’s worth of monthly apparel and accessories shipments to the user who writes the most “high quality” reviews on Google Maps before February 14.

Additionally, users who are already a “Local Guide Level 4+” (based on previous review volume) will receive a free month of Le Tote’s services, giving them an opportunity to try out the idea of borrowing apparel and accessories.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.