Google used their first Street View Global Summit in Amsterdam to launch their new ‘Local Guides’
So what are ‘Local Guides’?
Well to quote Google themselves
“Local Guides is a global community of explorers sharing their discoveries on Google Maps. Help others find the best spots in town, make new friends, and unlock exclusive benefits along the way.”
They continue “What’s your go-to cafe? Which art gallery hosts the most interesting exhibits? What restaurant serves the tastiest brunch? Local Guides help millions of people in the Google Maps community feel at home in the world, anywhere they go.”
So what’s in it for the Local Guides?
“It’s all about that warm feeling you get from helping others discover new, enriching experiences. That, and the benefits. Every place you improve on Google Maps gets you closer to unlocking something new—from early access to new products to exclusive contests and events.”
What can Local Guides actually do?
Local Guides can post photographs which will be attached to your business page.
Local Guides can suggest corrections to Google Business Pages.
Local Guides can post reviews to Google Business Pages.
Local Guides are asked to answer questions about businesses they have visited.
So who can become a Local Guide?
Anyone with a Gmail account.
What is the link to become a Local Guide?
So what’s in it for Google?
Data. A lot of data.
All very fine I hear you say, but how does this affect my business?
When a local guide is in your premises they will be encouraged to engage with the business.
So they will post their snaps, review your business and perhaps add information missing from your Google Business page.
Subsequently they may be asked to answer crowd sourced questions on the style, atmosphere, facilities, products and services you offer.
On the negative side you may find a great deal of noise as lots of terrible photographs get loaded onto Google.
On the positive side you can now get lots and lots of Google reviews.
Google prefer their own Google+ reviews and serve them up in search results.
In the past getting a Google+ Business Page review was difficult.
It was also dangerous to have people post reviews from your location as Google might think you were massaging the results.
Now you can encourage the large numbers of clients who have a Gmail account to post reviews while they are at your premises.
You cannot reward those posting reviews, but you can take steps to positivity encourage reviews and photos.
Photograph shows Arjun Raman, Technical Program Director, Google Street View addressing the Google Street View World Summit in Amsterdam. Photo: © Contemporary Photography 2016