Google announced today that it’s expanding the Local Guides feature it has for Google Maps that aims to act as a community-driven virtual guide for points of interest with an integrated rewards program (which it could position as a Yelp competitor).
Among the biggest update for the expansion is new rewards for users, allowing access to upgraded Google Drive storage, early access to Google products and features, and more.
Google detailed the new rewards, which include the ability for users to earn a free 1 TB upgrade of Drive storage by accumulating a certain number of points. The top reward will make users eligible to attend Google’s inaugural summit in 2016: “… you’ll be able to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps. Look out for details early next year.”
Here’s a look at the new rewards:
Level 1 (0 – 4 points): Enter exclusive contests (think new Google devices!) in select countries.
Level 2 (5 – 49 points): Get early access to new Google products and features.
Level 3 (50 – 199 points): Show up in the Google Maps app with your official Local Guides badge.
Level 4 (200 – 499 points): Receive a free 1 TB upgrade of your Drive storage, allowing you to keep all the stories, photos, and videos from your travels in one safe place.
Level 5 (500+ points): The very top Local Guides will become eligible to apply to attend our inaugural summit in 2016, where you’ll be able to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps. Look out for details early next year.
Users can earn points by using the feature in Google Maps to do things like leaving a review, answering questions, uploading photos, and submitting fixes.
The expansion also includes an update that makes it easier for contributors to view and track local guides they’ve submitted.