Well folks, it looks like Google has done it again. The massive Company based in California is stepping into the local business promotion world with its own yelp – slash – Trip Advisor type site, named Google Local Guides.
Like these other sites, Google is asking users to login as a ‘Local Guide’. What this means is every users will use an app on their phone or laptop to rate local businesses they use. In doing this the user earns points and the business (for better or worse) earns more visibility based on the reviews, photographs, videos, etc. made about them.
One thing that seems unique to Google Local Guides is that when users enter reviews, they earn points. These points go toward increasing your guide level. Each guide level comes with its own perks.
You get a point for each set of photos, per review, among other things.
At Level 1 – which goes from 0 points (where everyone starts) to 4 points you are able to enter contests for new google devices. For now, this only applies to select countries, but will likely spread with activity.
At Level 2 – which covers 5 to 49 points, you gain the ability to sign up for access to new google products.
At level 3 – which goes from 50 – 199 points, you show up in google maps with your official Badge from Local Guides.
If and when you reach Level 4 (ranging from 200 to 499 points) – you get a 1 terabyte upgrade to your Google Drive storage.
Level 5 is the highest level – Google Guides who reach this level are eligible to apply to attend the first guide summit in 2016. If you’re able to go, you’ll get to tour he google campus, meet other guides and get an inside scoop on upcoming features for google maps.
At face value, these perks don’t seem like much, but here is the thing: this is just the start. As the program grows, the levels will more than likely go up. As that happens, better perks become more and more likely. I wouldn’t expect Google to give their users an island or anything extravagant, but those who participate do stand to gain special privileges within Google’s bubble. Already the level 4 perk is saving anyone who regularly uses docs or drive, that’s a $10/month in savings, which can add up quick. More and more docs and drive are being used to meet business needs; this extra storage can save startups even more money.
This is one of those rare opportunities to get in on the ground floor of something that the whole world can see is going to be huge. If you already use apps like FourSquare, Trip Advisor or Yelp, you may as well add this one to your repertoire. It doesn’t cost any money and can only help increase your own web presence, as well as that of the places you visit, even if it doesn’t hit it big.