Going somewhere new is always thrilling: in all the small ways that yet matter, you get to feel like a different person. Who will you decide to be? It also produces the same dilemma: where will you go, and what will you do while you’re there?
Google’s Local Guides program has more than 120 million members in 24,000 locations globally. They are a largely invisible but indispensable part of the Google Maps experience, providing reviews, images and other content as well as answering questions (Q&A) about local businesses and places.
Now the Guides are about to become more visible. Maps users in a number of cities will soon be able to follow Local Guides and see local recommendations of places and things to do.
The test launches “soon” in nine cities around the world, including Bangkok, Delhi, London, Mexico City, New York City, Osaka, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Tokyo. It could be a long time before you can simply assume there’s a suitable guide wherever you want to go.
Google describes its Local Guide program as a “global community of explorers who write reviews, share photos, answer questions, add or edit places, and check facts on Google Maps.”
Regardless, Google Local Guides are in some respects the secret success factor powering one of Google’s most successful products — now the largest driver of local search volume.