Jan 4, 2013
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I have been a level 4 Local Guide (sarcasm) ooohhhh + aaaaahhhh (/sarcasm) for some time now. I love the program in some ways. I think it could use improvement in other ways. But that is a topic for another day. I received an update today (email) that I would like to share with you all. It looked like this:

Hello Explorer,

We're excited to share an update with you regarding the Local Guides program. To recognize the contributions of photographers, mappers, and explorers of all kinds, you can now earn points and level up in four new ways beginning today.

<h2>Upload photos</h2>
upload photos.jpg

<h2>Add new places</h2>
add new places.jpg

<h2>Fix information</h2>
fix information.jpg

<h2>Answer questions</h2>
answer questions.jpg

<h2>How the Point System Works</h2>

Each type of contribution is worth 1 point, with a maximum of 5 points per place. For example:

  1. Upload 5 photos to the same place = 1 point
  2. Upload 2 photos + 1 review to the same place = 2 points
  3. Write 5 reviews of 5 different places = 5 points
  4. Add a new place = 1 point
  5. Your past contributions count too — your total points and Local Guides level may change with these new features.

<h2>MY FAVORITE NEW BENEFIT - 1 TB Storage for Two Years</h2>
This just saved my company about $30 mo in extra storage on company drive.

<h2>Free Google Drive Upgrade</h2>

free google drive upgrade.jpg

<h2>KAPOW! Awesome Sauce - if you use Google Drive</h2>

Congratulations! +1 TB added for 2 years..png

We’re thrilled to share a great new benefit for our community members.

Local Guides Level 4+ will receive a free upgrade of their Google Drive storage from 15 GB to 1 TB for two years. This way, you can keep all the stories, photos, and videos from your travels in one safe place.

<h2>New Local Guides Level 5</h2>

We're also unveiling our new Local Guide Level 5 status. Community members who’ve earned 500+ points will be eligible to apply for the chance to attend our inaugural Local Guides summit in 2016. Keep an eye out for an application early next year.

To learn more about these changes, how to contribute in new ways, and unlock additional benefits, visit our website or our help center. To see your status, check out the new Contributions tab in Google Maps, rolling out on iOS and Android today.

We can’t thank you enough for being part of our community. Every review, photo, and insight you share helps others feel at home and local businesses grow.

Happy exploring,

The Local Guides Team

<h2>Possible Downsides</h2>

<li>Users leaving reviews for the wrong reason - i.e. free storage</li>

<li>Users adding business locations - i.e. creating duplicates. Consumers adding duplicate locations concerns me the most.</li>

<li>Users updating information - i.e. messing up businesses listing data</li>


What do you guys here in the forum think about the Local Guides program? Too aggressive? Too Hot? Too Cold? Or is the porridge just right?

upload photos.jpg

add new places.jpg

fix information.jpg

answer questions.jpg

free google drive upgrade.jpg

Congratulations! +1 TB added for 2 years..png
Last edited:

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Top Poster Of Month
Jul 26, 2012
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Nice coverage, Cody.

My beef with "Local Guides" has always been what I see as the overemphasis on quantity (rather than quality) of reviews. You can write 50 one-liner reviews and still be considered a top dog. I think it speaks volumes about Google's goals here.

But as a way of advancing Google's goals - however we feel about them - Google's incentives will probably prove effective.


Jan 4, 2013
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I completely agree Phil! A reviewer can leave a two word response and it counts as a review. WEAK! Or leave only a star rating and affect a businesses rating. LAME!

Yelp at least requires 3 lines or its only considered a tip. Yelp reviews offer some of the best user generated content in local. Awesome photos, and much deeper insights about food, service etc.

Loved South Parks take on Yelp Elite. I'm sure that Google is headed in the same direction. 2,662 local guides in Austin already! There's your proof that this strategy will most likely succeed for G.

I write a lot of reviews for both. I appreciate that Yelp doesn't give exact details and requirements about becoming Yelp Elite and that Yelp makes that decision though I expect that it's algorithm based.

Bottom line, more quide lines, work, participation etc to become Yelp Elite. Someone could bang out Local Guide status in one week.

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