I’ve been a Google Local Guide for just over 2 years. It has been a great experience on so many levels. I’ve received perks from Google. From small: like a free trial of YouTube Red; to big: I got selected to the Local Guides Summit (now called Connect Live), in 2017. In addition to perks, I’ve also added helpful info to Google Maps to champion local businesses, and make them more accessible.
If perks from Google or helping local business sounds compelling to you, then consider getting started with Local Guides.
Here’s how to become a Google Local Guide in 6 Steps:
- Download the Google Maps App on your phone and open it
- Click to open the menu in the upper left corner
- Log in to Google Maps. That’s right, your Gmail account is your account for the whole Google ecosystem including Google Maps.
(If you’re on an android phone this could happen automatically.)
- Once logged in you can start contributing. Search for one of your favorite businesses, then open its map listing.
- Scroll through the map listing to the rating and review section. At the bottom of that section you can leave a star rating. Rate them!
- Boom, you have now contributed to Google Maps, and are on the path to becoming a local guide.
Repeat this process or contribute in other ways. For instance: add photos, and you will get points from Google Maps. These points determine which level you are as a contributor. I’m a level 7. Holla! You will need to get to level 4 (250 points) for your Local Guides Badge to show.
Google has a great help section which explains how many points each contribution is worth and more: https://support.google.com/local-guides/answer/6225851
I’ve been a Google Local Guide since early 2016.
I joined, because Google had this massive incentive of free storage on the Google Drive, which you would receive if you contributed a certain amount to Google maps. I started by contributing photos of local businesses and making minor map edits to get to that first level and earn that first reward. Though that initial offer is no longer available, I’ve received other and ongoing perks for contributing to Google Maps, including a free (no credit card required) three month subscription to the New York Times, and I was invited to be a beta-tester of the Google Maps app (not exactly a perk, but I love geeking out on this stuff).
It’s not just about the perks.
I found as I contributed that my contributions were making a difference to people and local business. One of my go-to photos was an exterior shot of a local business. You would be surprised at how many businesses only have Google Street View as their exterior shot. This isn’t ideal in a place with seasons, or if the business is back from the road a bit. My photos had the objective of showing a person seeking out the business what to expect. The photos also validated that the business actually existed, and were open.
To date, my 663 photos on Google Maps have been seen by over 5.7 million people.
I’ve also added 25 missing places to Google Maps. Many of these were local businesses that had not yet had the time or wherewithal to put their business on Google Maps. I like to think, my contribution opened up their businesses to a lot more eyes.
Make Maps Even Better
Finally, I’m an avid contributor to Google Maps, because I’m an avid user of Google Maps. Having the ability to see the streets and places of almost anywhere in the world, look at topography, and of course plan trips, has been enjoyable and made my life more efficient. Contributing to Google Maps is a small way for me to give back.
If you’re interested in learning more about being a Local Guide, visit https://maps.google.com/localguides.