Google has released a new Google Maps update, specifically for its local guides. People who regularly leave reviews, add information for tourist spots, restaurants or other locations and those who upload photos will now be rewarded. Google will provide them with increased Drive storage, as well as access to a variety of new products. They hope that this will further popularize their Local Guides element.
Picking the right place to go can be tough—whether you’re looking for a night out with friends, a quiet weekend away with family, or just a neighborhood coffee shop. To help make these decisions easier, we’re expanding the Local Guides program in Google Maps, which gives you the chance to share your discoveries directly to the map, making it more useful for everyone.
Those who become a level 2 guide will be able to access any new Google products and features before anyone else. Those who get to level 3 will have a badge attached to their name. This badge will show that their review comes from a trusted guide. The best and most interesting level, however, is level 4, through which you can get the most interesting prize of all. This particular prize is 1TB of Google Drive Storage worth $9.99 per month.
Google is cutting the monthly cost of extra storage for Google Drive today. Users always receive 15GB for free, but they can now jump up to 100GB for $1.99, down from the previous price of $4.99. Perhaps the most appealing option is the 1TB tier, which has fallen from $49.99 each month all the way down to $9.99.
Because Microsoft recently rolled back on their OneDrive storage, this is a great opportunity to get a whole terabyte of cloud space without having to pay for it. Whether or not this means Microsoft will make new changes remains to be seen.
Microsoft tonight announced that it was making changes to its OneDrive cloud storage services, reducing the amount of storage both Office 365 and free users are granted and eliminating its unlimited option. The company says that the changes were needed to “ensure that we can continue to deliver a collaborative, connected and intelligent service.”
But there is an even higher level as well! Those who manage to get to level 5, which means they have at least 500 program points, will receive an invitation for the Local Guides summit, which will be held for the first time in 2016. It isn’t entirely clear yet what this summit will be about, but Google is making it sound very interesting so far.
The very top Local Guides will become eligible to apply to attend our inaugural summit in 2016, where you’ll be able to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps. Look out for details early next year.
It also isn’t clear what this invitation will entail. After all, for those who live around the globe, attending such a summit may be impossible if they have to pay for their own accommodation and travel. Further details will be released shortly.
The Google Local Guides program has been expanding slowly but surely over the past year. The goal is to make sure that Google Maps is filled with information relevant to its users. A new Maps feature was tested back in August, when Google would automatically upload food photographs if they were taken in a restaurant, so that people could see the food that they could eat there.
The idea is that if you’re in a restaurant, and are served with a particularly impressive looking meal (or indeed a cocktail, perhaps), you can take a photo and link it to the establishment. Those browsing through the eateries on Google Maps can then get a close look at the sort of dishes these establishments serve, and when twinned with reviews, will make your mobile phone an even more powerful tool when it comes to deciding where you’re going to eat out.
Traditionally, Google Maps has always been seen as the leader on the mapping market. This is particularly true after Apple Maps performed poorly to say the very least. However, Apple is also working hard at becoming better. They are now adding directions for public transport and it is said that they will also be delivering an Apple version of Google’s street view. Additionally, Apple Maps is updated regularly to always deliver the most up to date experience.
Apple Maps POIs appear to be updated every day at 3 a.m., user “heyyoudvd” disclosed in a thread on Reddit. That person has been actively tracking Apple’s progress with its Maps application, and they believe they have seen more updates to the mapping data in recent weeks than in the previous two years combined.
This could be a significant pointer towards greater plans. Apple Maps was long known to be of inferior quality because its data was out of date, and it is possible that these developments mean they are now taking it much more serious. It is not clear what their plans are for a Google Street View version on Apple and some are skeptical about whether or not that is actually true. After all, Street View was a huge global operation and it seems unlikely that Apple could be doing the same without gathering huge amounts of publicity.
Meanwhile, it seems that Google Maps will always continue to be the leader in the field, particularly now that it is offering such great incentives for those who share their information. By offering Local Guides real world rewards, it is likely that an increasing number of people will join in. And anyone who starts to use Local Guides will, by definition, also use Google Maps. As such, the company will once again be able to corner a huge part of the market overall, something that both Apple and Microsoft won’t be too pleased about.