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Google Local Guides program: What is it and how do you sign up for it?

All of us can help make Google Maps better!
By
February 23, 2024
Google Maps GPS Nagivation stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Google Maps has become a quintessential part of our daily commutes. Many rely on it to navigate familiar and unfamiliar parts of our cities and towns and discover their local neighborhoods. Whether it is to know when a shop opens, find out if a restaurant serves vegan food, or find wheelchair-accessible businesses, we use Google Maps for uses beyond turn-by-turn navigation. And we have to thank the Google Local Guides program for all this additional information. But what is it, and how do you sign up for it? In this article, we tell you all you need to know about the Google Local Guides program, how it affects the quality of Google Maps, and how you can become a Google Local Guide.

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Google Local Guides is a global community of volunteers who contribute with information to improve Google Maps. This helps build knowledge about locations from people on the ground, effectively crowdsourcing the service.


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What are Google Local Guides?

Google Local Guides 2
Aamir Siddiqui / Android Authority

Google Local Guides are people like you and me who use Google Maps frequently. The difference is these guides contribute information to the platform. These contributions include reviews, photos, answers to questions, fact-checks, and more. They even add and edit location information on Google Maps, often becoming the first source of information for locals.

Google Local Guides is thus best described as a global community of explorers that have been hugely influential in the success of Google Maps. They help millions discover new places by voluntarily sharing their knowledge of hyperlocal experiences, improving the experience for all of us.

Google essentially crowdsourced the data it used to build Google Maps, attracting more users, some of whom contribute back through the Google Local Guides program. Small contributions by individuals add up on global levels, to make Google Maps the product it now is.

How does Google’s Local Guide program work?

Google Local Guides Points System

Google’s Local Guide program works by gamifying the feedback process on Google Maps.

Whenever you visit a place, Google Maps will prompt you for feedback about that place. This feedback can include reviews, photos, and more. Most of these contributions earn you points, and the amount varies depending on the type of data provided.

Guides accumulate these points over time, increasing their Local Guide level. Past a particular stage, participants start reaping some benefits, such as exclusive badges and even special rewards, such as pins from Google, discount vouchers, and early access to new Google features.

How many points does each contribution earn?

Here’s how many points you earn with each contribution:

  • One point for every rating, answer, or fact that is checked.
  • Three points for every photo tag or Q&A response.
  • Five points for every photo added or edit made.
  • Seven points for every video added.
  • 10 points for every review and photo caption. 10 bonus points for reviews that are more than 200 characters long.
  • 15 points for every place or road added to the map.

The numbers may appear tiny, but they add up over time, and the points don’t expire. However, points may be taken away if the content violates Google’s policies. They may also reduce if the business has permanently closed down and removed from Google Maps, removing your contributions in the process.

How many points are needed for Local Guides levels?

As you accumulate points, you reach higher levels for Local Guides:

  • Level 1: Zero points
  • Level 2: 15 points
  • Level 3: 75 points
  • Level 4: 250 points
  • Level 5: 500 points
  • Level 6: 1,500 points
  • Level 7: 5,000 points
  • Level 8: 15,000 points
  • Level 9: 50,000 points
  • Level 10: 100,000 points
Google Local Guides Points System Level 10 badge

Local Guides level 4 and above receive a badge corresponding to their level, which is displayed in Google Maps as a reward for their continued contributions.

How do you become a Local Guide on Google?

If the Local Guide program sounds lovely to you, here’s how you can become a local guide:

  1. Install Google Maps on your phone.
  2. Open the app and sign in with your preferred Google account.
  3. Click on the Contribute icon in the bottom bar to begin contributing.
  4. And that is it. You are now a Local Guide.

The program is available in over 40 countries. Note that this program is for individuals and not businesses.

The Contribute page has a few starting points for you. It allows editing the map, adding a place, writing a review, or adding a photo. It will also display some prompts, like showing places you have recently visited and asking you to rate or review them. You can also answer simple yes and no questions.

If you want to take your Local Guides game to the next level, we suggest thoroughly exploring your local area, preferably on foot. Walk around your area and help populate details for local businesses, tourist attractions, utility services, public transit stops, and more. Shoot photos of name boards and business entrances, snap videos of roads, and get in the habit of penning down your honest opinions in Google Maps.

Remember, Local Guides is a community-driven experience, and people acting in bad faith will eventually be drowned out by honest reviews and suggestions from fellow contributors, so don’t try to be dishonest. Google does take action against Local Guides that violate its policies, so be truthful with your feedback.


FAQs

No, Google Local Guide points cannot be redeemed in any way. There is no monetary value behind these points, either.

You cannot convert Google Maps points to money. No monetary value is attached to the points earned through the Local Guide program.

No. Google does not pay Local Guides, nor do they earn any money for their contributions. Google Local Guides is a volunteer-driven program.

Local Guides may receive early access to Google features and special rewards from partners from time to time. However, these benefits are relatively rare and reserved for the higher levels. They also vary across regions. Google does give Local Guides a special digital badge within Google Maps to honor their contributions.