Google Incentivizes Local Guides with Gamification and Kudos

Google expanded the Local Guides program from its initial review focused emphasis and has been encouraging other types of engagements with Google Maps.

in November they started giving Local Guide points for photos uploaded, and  listings edited. They even have offered Regional Lead status in MapMaker to them.

The program was introduced in January of last year and while it is similar to Yelp’s Elite program, I have argued that it comes with a distinctive Google flavor. Google has managed to engage a very large number of trusted users to actively improve Google Maps and they have done so at very, very low costs and huge scale.

And not only has it been at low cost but it has saved Google time and money finding trusted beta testers and MapMaker editors. They make those seem like benefits to the users.  I also get 1 terabyte of free storage. I am not sure the incremental cost of that to Google but it has to be very little.

In addition to writing the occasional review and editing locations, I frequently upload photos to Maps…. I just received this acknowledgement that my photos have been seen 500,000 times.

Screenshot 2016-03-01 15.27.21
Click to view larger

PS added 3/2 Google’s definition of gasification:
Screenshot 2016-03-02 14.14.01

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Incentivizes Local Guides with Gamification and Kudos by

8 thoughts on “Google Incentivizes Local Guides with Gamification and Kudos”

  1. I love the perk (1tb) of being a local guide. Are the pictures you leave from your personal use or for clients you work with?

  2. I am a level 3 local guide, after uploading 50 high-quality reviews of places that I visited. It was time-consuming, but fun. The only incentive I was offered was an invite to a Google event, if I completed reviews by a specific date. I did not go to the event. I have not, however, uploaded any photos from the places I reviewed. Very interesting article, Mike. I would love to hear more about other readers’ experiences with the LG program.

  3. @Jennifer
    Photos are for me, much easier to do than reviews. Although I do reviews, location edits (for work and my home town) and photos and have been for a long time I currently have 270 points and don’t envisioning myself ever getting the 500 points needed to make it to the next level.

  4. Mike,
    Thanks for the nice article 🙂 We at Local Guides love to see that you are enjoying sharing reviews and photos of your experiences.

    Just a note, the Map Maker Regional Lead program is separate from Local Guides. A number of people do participate in both, but the criteria to be a Regional Lead is very strict and based on mapping history and experience. Anyone is welcome to join the Local Guides program where they can unlock benefits like you mentioned. We love to give our LGs early/exclusive access to Google products and features when those opportunities arise, though some are restricted to our higher level Local Guides.

    Thanks again!!

    1. @Corrie
      I noted that “it has saved Google time and money finding trusted beta testers and MapMaker editors“. Google did reach out to a number of Local Guides and offered them the opportunity to become Regional leads. Clearly they are not the same program but MapMaker has leveraged the program to beef up their “staff”.

  5. Hey Mike, thanks for the reply! It is true that Local Guides were notified of the application for Regional Leads (in a newsletter I believe), as many Local Guides enjoy contributing these kinds of factual changes and updates to the map. Local Guides also “gives points” for certain edits made in Map Maker so there is a connection in that way. My point was that at no time did we just “offer Regional Lead status in MapMaker to them.”

    Both our Local Guides and our Map Maker mappers are passionate about helping others explore the world around them – even if that means helping correct or improve the content we have on Google Maps.

    As I said before, thank you so much for the article and we are so happy to have you in the program!

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