Local Guides is a local search and discovery service like Foursquare or Yelp. Users of the mobile app can write business reviews, upload new photos, add new places, fix outdated information, and answer questions about a location and earn points -- one point per contribution.
The points can be exchanged for everything from early access to new products to contests and events, or for up to 1TB of free Google Drive online storage. Users can accumulate points to move up along a five-level scale. According to Google:
- Level 1 (0 - 4 points) allows users to enter exclusive contests in select countries.
- Level 2 (5 - 49 points) provides early access to new Google products and features.
- Level 3 (50 - 199 points) allows a user to show up in the Google Maps app with an official Local Guides badge.
- Level 4 (200 - 499 points) offers a free 1 TB upgrade of the user's Drive storage.
- Level 5 (500+ points) allows reviewers to become eligible to apply to attend the company's inaugural summit in 2016. (Details will be released next year.)
Users must first sign up for Local Guides and then download the latest Google Maps update on Android and iPhone to follow your progress on the new "Contributions" tab. As points accumulate for suggestions for places, they will appear at the bottom of the screen.