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Google's Local Guides program: Get free stuff and nifty trip summaries

Derek Walter | Feb. 18, 2016
If you're willing to hand over a bunch of information to Google, you'll get some nice freebies and a daily recap of all your travels.

So to add images for reviews you just have to tap one of the locations you visited and then you can add write the review and add the pictures. You get more points with both images and reviews together, so snap away.

Another way to score: add new venues to Google Maps. You’d be surprised how often a restaurant, coffee shop, or store hours are incorrect or not listed at all. If you add in the name, address, hours, and other details about the place you’ll get a nice points boost (though these will sit in a review queue before they go live). Plus, you’ll be doing a somewhat altruistic service to your fellow humans. We all get a taco craving from time to time, so add in that new Mexican restaurant that just opened down the street (as I did recently). Your fellow citizens will thank you.

Also, don’t overlook these occasional questions that will pop up about places you’ve visited. 

Add to the Google Maps knowledge database by answering many, many questions about where you’ve been.

You have to answer a lot of them to earn Local Guides points, but they’re pretty easy and will help you boost up your ranking quickly. The questions don’t always pertain to the particular type of locale, though. You’ll sometimes get questions about men’s clothing choices at a houseware store, but just go with it anyway.

Is the tradeoff worth it?

If you follow such a strategy, you’ll be a Local Guide master in no time.  But as you’ve probably realized, you’ll give Google a whole lot of information about yourself. In exchange for some cool freebies and a streamlined timeline of your trips, everywhere you went with your phone will be recorded in your Google account.

If this freaks you out a little, then you can always delete your history whenever you want. You can keep using Maps and participating in the Local Guides program after you do this, but any of the benefits from looking at past vacations will be gone.

The Android integration to craft a strong Local Guides experience is rather well done, so if you don’t mind the data tradeoff you may find yourself with oodles of free storage and some invites to Google events. If you want to get started, head to the Local Guides sign-up page and get cracking on your first batch of reviews.


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