Episode 41: Layers

There is a lot of information on Google Maps – an overwhelming amount in fact. If you zoom in or out, other types of information will be shown to you: e.g. city or even country names if you’re zoomed out, and individual street or place names when you’re zooming in. Other types of information can also be displayed when you have specific needs, such as traffic information when you are driving.

All of that information is stored and organized on the map in layers – and that is the topic of this episode.


Episode 40: The Truth about Views

Being an active local guide is to some extent a numbers game. There are the points you earn when you contribute to Google Maps, the levels you reach by getting those points and the counters for the different types of contributions (how many reviews you wrote, how many questions you have answered, etc.), but the most impressive number is beyond any doubt the counter of the views for the pictures you have uploaded. Lots of local guides have seen this count go up into the millions – some even into the billions. 

But what is really shown there? What exactly are those ‘views’ and where do they come from? Are there perhaps any tips or hacks to make sure your pictures reach a crazily high view count? In this episode, we will try to answer those questions and find out the truth about views.


Episode 39: News & Updates

One of the consequences of publishing podcast episodes less frequently, is that I will need to do a “News & Updates” episode every couple of episodes, I guess – especially if the Google Maps team keeps bringing out new features at the current pace. But I have understood from the feedback that most of the audience likes these episodes, so here we go again: more news and updates about Google Maps and the local guides program!


Episode 38: Connect Moderators

Google provides a dedicated forum for Local Guides to get in touch with one another and share their experiences. That is – as you will probably know – Local Guides Connect. On that platform the moderation is handled on the one hand by some Google employees, the Google Moderators, and on the other hand by selected Local Guides, the Connect Moderators. In this episode we’ll have a closer look at those Connect Moderators, and you will actually hear the info from those Connect Moderators themselves.


Episode 37: Artificial Unintelligence

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is definitely one of the most used buzzwords in recent years. And Google is definitely a major contributor in that field. But when it comes to using Google Maps and being a Local Guide some of the things we see pop up or get proposed by the algorithms don’t seem to be intelligent at all. In this episode we will cover some specific examples of what I would like to call Artificial Unintelligence and suggest possible fixes. Let’s hope it can help the Google team deliver an even better user experience.


Episode 36: News & Updates

There are a bunch of novelties and newsworthy facts again, both about Google Maps and the Local Guides program, so it’s time for another News & Updates episode.


Episode 35: Adding Roads

When you click on the profile picture of a local guide in Google Maps, a screen pops up listing the number of contributions (s)he has made, split up by type of contribution. In most cases there are high numbers for Photos and Answers, sometimes also for Reviews. But the contribution type where you are most likely to see a 0 is ‘Roads Added’. Perhaps all the roads have already been added? Or perhaps it is extremely difficult to add roads to Maps? In this episode you will find out that this is most certainly not the case and you will get loads of tips on how to get rid of that nasty 0, should that be there on your local guides profile.


Episode 34: Make Money with Maps

The Local Guides program in Google Maps is 100% based on volunteer work. There is no payment for the contributions we all make on Maps. Still the topic Local Guides and money is at times heavily debated, so in this episode I want to answer some questions relating to this topic, such as: What exactly is not allowed? And are there nevertheless ways to earn money with Google Maps? (Spoiler: yes, there are.) And if so: should you go down that path?


Episode 33: Fighting Spam

Not everything you see on Google Maps belongs there. Quite a few entries are in fact spam, often added on purpose for malicious or at least deceptive reasons. In this episode I discuss that topic with Jason Brown, an absolute specialist in fighting such spam entries. Jason is a Platinum Google My Business (GMB) Product Expert. He’s also a Local SEO specialist and – the main reason why we have him here – a dedicated GMB spam fighter. On Twitter he even calls himself the “Unofficial Sheriff of Google”.


Episode 32: News, news, news

Look, this Google Maps team is seriously messing up my planning. Typically I record one episode per month on a specific topic related to the Local Guides program, and I then add a short section at the end where I talk about new features. But they keep releasing so much new stuff and revealing a seemingly endless list of interesting facts, that I am now forced to make a dedicated episode to tell you all about these wonderful newsworthy topics (18 of them if you add it all up) in full length. Actually I don’t mind doing that at all, I even love it, and I’m pretty confident that the majority of the audience feels the same way.





Color indicator of busyness (item #6)


Restaurant pins containing ratings (item #7)


StreetView in split screen mode (item #8)