Google announced new updates on Local Guides program in Google Maps

By Money Times

Nov 16, 2015 09:17 PM EST

Google announced that its expanding the Local Guide program in Google Maps with new updates on its integrated rewards program. The Local Guides feature encourages and rewards users to provide information on area business, including reviews, photos, and other details.

According to Google's blog, the significant updates on Local Guides including a new points system that allows users to earn points by correcting business information, fixing outdated information, adding new places and answering simple questions.

The new updates allows the users to have more ways to earn more points and level up, according toTechCrunch. The expanding Local Guides also allows Google to crowdsource the process of editing business information in Google Maps.

The new updates enables the Local Guide to provide correction on Google Map's information, for example whether the store address is correct, or what the correct store hours are.

By allowing users to answer questions, the Local Guide can also provide the information for the common questions about places such as whether the place is family friendly. The information gained from Local Guide users  directly feeds into Google Maps suggestions.

When the users do one contribution to Local Guides in Google Maps they will be rewarded one point. They can receive up to five points per place. The users can unlock levels to Level 5 based on their accumulated points. The level describes rewards for the users.

The users on Level 1 (0-4 points) can enter contests in selected countries where they might win Google devices. Level 2 (5-49 points) offers early access to new Google products and features. Level 3 users (50-199 points) can show up in Google Maps app with the Local Guides badge. Level 4 users (200-499 points) earn a free 1 TB upgrade of Google Drive storage.

And as a part of its new updates, Local Guides introduces Level 5 (500+ points). The users in this level will become eligible to attend Local Guides' inaugural summit in 2016 where they will be enable to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps.

The new updates also allows the users to view and track the Guides the have submitted more easily. The Local Guides users can follow their progress on the new "Contribution" tab on the latest Google Maps update.

The new updates on Local Guides made the program's similarity with the rival Yelp's Elite become apparent. According to Skift, Local Guides which initially launched in January now claims 100,000 members around the world and it seeks to attract more contributors.

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