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Google Maps now Offers “Local Guides” Services

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In Google Maps’ recent update, a new feature called “Local Guides” has been implemented. This feature is quite similar to Yelp’s “Yelp Elite” service. As per this program, the tech giant will be rewarding users or Guides for providing quality reviews. For instance, a user who contributes to more than 50 reviews judged to be of good quality will have access to exclusive features. For instance, an access to a private Google+ community and invitations to elite events in select regions.

Users providing over 200 quality reviews will benefit by getting featured on “Local Guides” social network profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Guides will also be able to organize meetups and act a Google+ communities moderators. The “Local Guides” feature was initially introduced via a Google+ post. The feature has now been added to the Google Maps app.

Quite similar to Google’s new feature, Yelp already has a reward feature for their reviewers. Users are awarded special badges and are eligible to party invitations and various gifts through Yelp Elite. The most notable difference between these two programs is that Google’s is more accessible to the public. Any Google+ user can sign up and participate in the program.

The Local Guides program presents itself as a valuable addition in the market. It can also further leverage Google products such as Hangouts and Google+. This new feature will provide Google with a competitive edge on the review programs industry. Other competitors such as Yelp Elite and Foursquare Experts are likely to have to respond to this competition.

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