yuktahnon—Flickr Editorial/Getty Images
By Ethan Wolff-Mann
November 16, 2015

Google Maps is trying to ramp up its “Local Guides” feature by offering new rewards for people who leave reviews and photos, answer basic questions, and update other information. Google describes Local Guides as “a global community that helps you explore the world while earning perks,” and the feature is obviously in competition with Foursquare and Yelp in terms of attracting users and reviews of local businesses.

To reward users for the contributions to Local Guides, Google is now offering up to a terabyte of Google Drive storage, early access to new Google products, and the chance to go to a summit for reviewers. Users will earn points for each contribution, and the more points you have, the bigger the bonuses.

This move is essentially Google trying to farm out the huge task of collecting information on thousands of local restaurants to the people. As Wikipedia has shown, thousands of volunteers working together compiling information can be extremely efficient. And unlike Wikipedia, Google can actually can offer incentives, making people more likely to participate. A terabyte costs $9.99/mo otherwise.

Here’s the full point system according to Google:

  • 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.

[The Verge]
Read next: I Always Run Out of Storage Space for Photos. What Should I Do?


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