Have you searched for the local restaurant on a Sunday evening, and looked for the online reviews? Or, have you planned on going on a trip nearby – and did you look at the review of the place?

Well, if you have done it- then knowingly or unknowingly, you have come across User Generated Content (UGC) – content generated by the online local guides which serve as the stepping stone for the users.

Now, with the growing Local Guides, Google has been pressing on improving the quality of the review system by introducing Google Local Guides Program for their reviewers.

Why are the Google Local Guides important for Google?

Increasing the level ceiling for the Local Guides from Level 5 to Level 10 is a step taken to encourage the Google guides. Previously, for 500 points, the maximum level they could reach was level 5. Any points above 500, would keep them stagnated at level 5.

This step shows us that Google really cares about its local guides.

But, why?

Here are two of the reasons why Google focuses on improving the quality of the Local Guides.

1. Growth of a community:

Google considers its reviewers as a community. The community is aimed at helping Google reach out to their customer’s needs, and authenticate the spots, without doing it physically.

2. Authentic reviews help businesses to grow:

Google charges every business to be listed – run the ads on Google – to reach out to the consumers. The Local Guides help the users to reach a particular store that they have found online. Now, based on the positive review, the sales of the shop increase – and that is when they can re-invest into Google Ads to attract more consumers to increase their reach. Better community engagement results in a mutual handshake.

Now, that we are aware of how the Local Guides play a pivotal role, in reaching the places – with their foot – where Google cannot reach – do you want to know how Google rewards them?

Let us find out about the Google Local Guides Program:

But, before we do it, let us understand a little about the term – Gamification.

Gamification is the reward or point system through games for every desired action or step, taken by the targeted user that impacts the larger metric or KPI of the business.”

Gamification involves uncoiling the complexity of the task and adding the fun element to make it simpler & more engaging.

Now, you might be wondering how is this important in the Google Local Guides Program.

Let us read further to find out how both have been merged to create an awesome real-time user-generated content-based review system.

What is Google Local Guide Program?

Google local guide program is a gamified approach wherein every local guide is rewarded for their contribution as a review writer for every location on the Google Map. The reviewers are recognized through this program – and Google rewards them virtually for their selfless service towards making Google more trustworthy.

From Google’s end, it helps in keeping the maps up to date. Moreover, if the local guides are trustworthy, they are often reached out to double-check the authenticity of the information provided by businesses.

How does the program work?

For every contribution that the Google Local Guide makes, certain points are allotted. The points need to be accumulated by the guide. As required points are accumulated, the guide can move to a higher level in the program.

Moreover, they can also attain the new badge – and progress up to Level 10.

The badge is proof of the authenticity of your review. As your badge is reflected right next to your name – every time you leave a Google review, everyone will recognize it to be authentic – and consider you an expert.

This adds weightage to your contribution to Google as a Local Guide.

What is the point system followed by Google for the program?

There is a varied point system as provided based on the contribution made.

While the highest point is for writing a 200+ character review, you can accumulate bits and pieces by menial tasks like fact-checking, business rating, and tagging a photo.   

Other tasks include writing a listed description, adding a place, road, and many more – that help you to climb up the points table.

Badges start appearing next to your name once you have crossed level 4.

Once you accumulate 15 points, you can move to level 2. Moving higher would mean accumulating 75 points and as you grow beyond level 5, the points required to move to the next level rise up.

At 100K points, you achieve level 10.

Here is the full list of Points and Levels of the Google Local Guide Program:

Type of ReviewPoint
Giving a business rating1
Photo Tagging3
Respond to Questions & Answers3
Photo uploading5
Information Editing5
Write a description5
Video Uploading7
Review Writing under 200 character10
List Publishing10
Place Adding15
Road Adding15
Review more than 200 character20
Point Table of Different Types of Contributions on Google Map
Point Table of Different Types of Levels on Google Map

How to enroll in the Google Local Guide Program?

Step 1:

All you need to do is sign in to your Google Account in the browser & move to the Local Guides, Sign-up Page. Click on get started.

Sign up as a local guide on Google map

Step 2:

Select your city! Check out the awesome welcome video on your dashboard, search the place you want to review, and viola – get started!

Start contributing reviews on Google Map

Step 3:

During the review process, you will face numerous questions posted by Google. You can also drop in a review directly on Google Maps.

Secondly, you can check the facts as shared by the other users by visiting Google Maps. Edit it to enter the correct information and win Google points.

You can also let Google suggest your locations – based on your previous travel history – if you let your location history on.

Any surprises?

Well, maybe!

The following Reddit page suggests that few of the guides have received hampers and coupons off online purchases. Few have also earned digital products like 1 TB of Google Drive Storage once reaching the highest level. Few also got access to Google Maps features, without shelling off any bucks. A user by the name of maddykaty has confirmed that she received $7 off on movie ticket vouchers, free of charge postcard, and a 3-month free trial of Google 1.

Really some cool prizes there as well! How about you give it a try yourself! Hurry up!