Google updates Local Guides program with new incentives for contributors, more levels to unlock, and a revamped points system

If you're not familiar with Local Guides, it's a Google Maps-based program that's aimed at creating a vast community for sharing reviews, photos, and general knowledge about everything and anything around the world. Be it a local cafe or a godforsaken cave in the Indian Himalayas, you can review it, share your thoughts on it and contribute to the vastness of the ever-expanding database that is Google Maps.

Now Google is trying to provide more incentives for people to contribute to the platform, by making the whole endeavor feel more like a game. The more knowledge you share, be it in the form of reviews, photos, or simply answering questions, earns you points, which then, in turn, increase your level in Local Guides. Whereas before the update the maximum level you could reach was 5, now you can progress up to level 10.

Don't let the relatively scarce number of levels to conquer fool you, though. Level 10 requires 100,000 points to reach, which is a lot of opinion- and photo-sharing on Maps!

But Google is also changing how points are earned by contributors. For example, exploring uncharted territory, so to speak, and being the first to add a new place to Google Maps will earn you more points than, say, just adding the millionth review for your local Starbucks. Another new way to earn points is to fact-check info provided by other would-be guides.

Further, players—err, Local Guides—levels 4 to 10 can now benefit from an increased number of perks, such as a free three-month Google Play Music subscription, as well as 75 percent off a movie rental on Google Play. These perks are available in select countries only, however.

The updates to Google's Local Guides program will be rolling out over the next couple of days. If you're not a Local Guide already, keep an eye out for notification prompts from Maps.

source: Google


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