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.
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.
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.
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?
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”.
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.
An important element of the Local Guides program is the gamification – the fact that you can earn points by contributing to Google Maps and that those points help you reach higher levels. The highest level you can reach as local guide is level 10 – and judging by what Mara Chomsky, Global Lead of the Local Guides program at Google, told us in the interview I had with her a couple of episodes ago, there are no plans to introduce additional levels any time soon. For this episode I have therefore invited a number of level 10 local guides for a short interview and asked them to share their secret tips on how to reach level 10.
The last few weeks and months, quite a few of the ways you can suggest edits on Google Maps have changed – both in terms of the processes and the screens that are presented to Local Guides in the Maps app. In this episode we will explore what exactly has changed and find out whether things have gotten better or worse.
Not all contributions on Google Maps are made by local guides. A lot of information is also contributed by the businesses shown on Maps – either by the business owners or by marketing agencies working on their behalf. In this episode we will have a closer look at those agencies by interviewing Rasmus Himmelstrup, a local guide who works for such an agency.