Google Maps is a browser-based flat map. It was developed to aid in thoroughfare navigation and offer landscape viewing. It has now gained immense popularity. It has integrated itself into our daily lives. We refer to it as integral because we always access it to travel someplace. That can range from, the grocery store down the road or a distant country.
We come across names while browsing through the maps. The names appear along with reviews for that specific location and its surroundings. And that review gives us a brief description of the location we are looking for. We have all noticed "Local Guide" mentioned under the name of the person who reviewed the place. If so, you must have spotted a small badge clipping in the bottom right corner of the reviewer's picture. Has it piqued your curiosity? We have the answer to it.
This article will explain what the badge is for and who a local guide is.
According to Google, the local guide is;
a global community of explorers who share information about a place on Google Maps.
The concept of local guides is introduced to provide users with authentic facts and real-time reviews. This idea helped individuals and local businesses filter out spam comments.
Local Guides fact-check previously submitted reviews. And, if necessary, edit them upon visiting the location and observing it. They can also add insightful comments about the ambiance. They also mention local landmarks to help improve the experience. It will help local enterprises and the surrounding community deliver better service. Alongside, enhancing their resources, and expanding their merchandise.
Who can be a Local Guide?
The uncomplicated answer to this question is - anyone.
Anyone, who has a Google Account and meets the aged standard of their country is eligible to be a Local Guide. All you need is the willingness and enthusiasm to visit, review and share about the place.
How can you be a Local Guide?
To become a Local Guide, there are no demanding rounds of interviews or extended hassles. All you have to do is choose your current location while signing up and use your genuine Google Account. Listed below are the steps you need to follow for your comfort:
- Open Google Maps on your cell phone and log in with your Google Account.
- Turn on your phone’s live location.
- Tap on your profile section in the top-right corner.
- Select the option “Your Profile”
- Click on the Google Account you want to log in with and alongside you will see a “Get Started” button. Click on it and agree to the terms and conditions.
- Next, you will see your Local Guide Profile which will be as,
You can personalize your profile and begin your journey as a Local Guide once you have signed in. You can check your contributions on your profile. Your contributions will include everything you have ever shared and evaluated. Under your contribution, you will find
- The pictures you have shared and uploaded
- The reviews you have written
- The ratings you have given, and
- The recommendations for additional reviews of locations.
Google provides a choice for further environmental interaction. That choice is: to be followed and follow someone. It is a replica of features of other social media handles. As a result, you can follow other local tour guides and see their creations.
As a Google Local Guide, you can
- Write a review of business, events, places, etc.
- You can give a review by answering questions about places.
- Can share media like photos and videos of places you have visited.
- You can add and update information about the places you have visited.
- Report incorrect information
Protocols to be followed by a Local Guide
Local Guide aims to gather information and make exploration more enjoyable and lively. All along writing reviews and posting pictures. Google Maps, thus, has a set of rules. The rules must be followed in order to be a recognized Local Guide by Google. And, ensure a productive environment and a positive commitment.
Share thoughtful reviews and tips
In an extensive world, it’s the details that carry weight. When you visit any place and gain experience, include some notable information about that place. Also, mention how your experience was. You can describe the resource, the ambiance, and the hospitality alongside relevant specifics. Avoid generic and ambiguous reviews.
Take clear and accurate pictures of the location
There’s an old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Hence, it is easy to tell that a photo helps describe the story of a place. To do so, take relevant pictures and pinpoint the place's features. On visiting a place, and clicking a picture, make sure you take proper advantage of the light. Capture nice shots from multiple angles and upload your best shot. However, while doing so, you also must be careful and respectful of the privacy of others. Make sure you have the permission of the owner regarding the picture. Upload the picture only after their confirmation.
Your reviews and your uploads should be based on your real-life experience. Here are some things that should be avoided:
- Redundant pictures,
- Fake and extra edits,
- Defamatory language,
- Off-topic answers,
- Stolen resources,
- Any personal attacks, etc.
They all fall under the violation of the community policy of Google Products. In this case, Google Maps.
If you are a Local Guide or want to be one, you need to make sure you abide by their policies. Make sure not to abuse the trust. This way, you are not removed from the Local Guides program.
Benefits of being a Local Guide
Local Guide is a new concept. It is introduced for travelers who enjoy sharing their travel stories and itineraries. There are no monetary benefits to being a Google Local Guide. Since it is a review-sharing guide, the only benefit is sharing your experience.
However, there are some points and rewards you earn for your contribution. Google has allocated different points for different contributions you make.
The table above shows the standard point system for the contributions. The more points you earn, the higher the level you reach. You will get a badge once you reach a certain level. The higher the level you reach, the better the badges you earn. The required points and corresponding badges for the level are shown in the snip below,
Google gives these badges and points as a recognition guide to those who contribute. And to people who are enthusiastic Google users. The company checks the users and badges. Google states that users with badges can receive early access to new Google features.
Some of the badges that you can earn by being a Google local guide are :
|Level 1: New Local Guide||100 points|
|Level 2: Local Guide||500 points|
|Level 3: Tourist||1250 points|
|Level 4: Explorer||3125 points|
|Level 5: Contributor||7500 points|
|Level 6: Ambassador||15625 points|
|Level 7: Expert||39062 points|
|Level 8: Master||100000 points|
So more you write reviews, share videos and photos, answer questions, and report misleading information, the faster you will earn higher levels.
Also, you can connect with other Google Local Guides and learn about new places and this may have you positive impact on your life as well as society.
How to check your points?
To check your contribution and level, go to your profile on Google Maps. Click on your picture. On scrolling, you will see your points and the respective number of contributions. You can also check on what level you currently are on.
The points you earn do not expire. But your points might get deducted. How? It will happen if your content falls under the violation of community policy. When you earn points and level up, you can get recognized in a wider community. And later by reaching a higher level, can even get invited to Local Guide Summits.
What are the badges?
Contributions include reviewing a place, uploading a picture, answering queries, rating places, etc.
Every field comprises knowledge of various fields. Therefore, Google has introduced badges to recognize efforts in different fields. The badges are as follows:
- Fact Finder: Earn this badge by checking facts, making edits, and responding to queries.
- Director: Earn this badge by uploading videos.
- Reviewer: Earn this badge by writing detailed reviews.
- Photographer: Earn this badge by sharing and uploading photos of places.
- Trailblazer: Earn this badge by being the first guide to upload information.
Therefore, anyone can be a local guide, help improve travel quality, and assist a community to grow its reach.