Google Creates a Point System for Local Guides Reviewers

I have been a level 4 Local Guide ooohhhh + aaaaahhhh for some time now. I am a firm believer in “paying it forward” when it comes to reviews. I love the Local Guide program in some ways. I think it could use improvement in other ways, but that is a topic for another day. I received an update today (email) from the Local Guides program.  It looked like this:

Hello Explorer,

We’re excited to share an update with you regarding the Local Guides program. To recognize the contributions of photographers, mappers, and explorers of all kinds, you can now earn points and level up in four new ways beginning today.

Upload New Photos

Add New Places

Fix Information

Answer Questions

Point System

Each type of contribution is worth 1 point, with a maximum of 5 points per place. For example:

  1. Upload 5 photos to the same place = 1 point
  2. Upload 2 photos + 1 review to the same place = 2 points
  3. Write 5 reviews of 5 different places = 5 points
  4. Add a new place = 1 point
  5. Your past contributions count too — your total points and Local Guides level may change with these new features.

My New Favorite Benefit

Free Google Drive upgrade from 15 GB to 1 TB for two years.

Free Google Drive Upgrade

1 TB of Storge


We’re thrilled to share a great new benefit for our community members.

Local Guides Level 4+ will receive a free upgrade of their Google Drive storage from 15 GB to 1 TB for two years. This way, you can keep all the stories, photos, and videos from your travels in one safe place.

New Local Guides Level 5

We’re also unveiling our new Local Guide Level 5 status. Community members who’ve earned 500+ points will be eligible to apply for the chance to attend our inaugural Local Guides summit in 2016. Keep an eye out for an application early next year.

To learn more about these changes, how to contribute in new ways, and unlock additional benefits, visit our website or our help center. To see your status, check out the new Contributions tab in Google Maps, rolling out on iOS and Android today.

We can’t thank you enough for being part of our community. Every review, photo, and insight you share helps others feel at home and local businesses grow.

Happy exploring,

The Local Guides Team

Possible Downsides of Offering Incentives for Reviews

  • Reviewers leaving reviews for the wrong reason – i.e. free storage
  • Reviewers leaving reviews for businesses they did not visit for points
  • Reviewers adding business locations – i.e. creating duplicates. Consumers adding duplicate locations concerns me the most.
  • Reviewers updating information – i.e. messing up businesses listing data