Local Guides in Google Maps just received a big update this week which adds more levels, and new ways of encouraging the community to contribute. If you haven’t heard of Local Guides before, this is a community-driven program that encourages users to update information in Google Maps by adding, modifying and reviewing places they visit in exchange for points and leveling up.
So far Local Guides users were able to ascend as far as level 5, but as of this week, Google is adding 5 extra levels in the hopes that people will contribute more. The new levels take quite a few points to reach. Right now you need 500 points to hit level 5, but getting to level 10 will require you gather no less than 10,000 points.
Users with a level four or higher will now be awarded a special badge to be displayed on their profile pictures, so people will easily be able to tell which local guide contributed the most. Those who earn that badge are also eligible to get three months of free Google Play Music All Access and 75% discount on a movie rental from Google Play.
Google is also changing the way its awarding points in Local Guides. For starters, some actions like adding a place for the first time or writing a review will be rewarded with more points. Adding a place will earn you 15 points – the highest reward available, while a review will give you 5 extra points. Prior to the current update, ratings were not rewarded, but now Google offers 1 point for one.
Oh yeah and the system will retroactively take your past contribution into consideration, so be prepared to see your point total climb after the update.
It’s also worth noting that Google did not announce any new rewards, so until further notice, the incentives system remains the same. Meaning that Local Guides who reach level two or higher will be treated to early access to new Google products and features, exclusive surprises from partners, free Google Drive storage and lots more.