Google has started rolling out updates to its Maps app on the Android platform and the latest version number is 9.4. The most important feature of this update is the addition of the Local Guides service.
Originally called the City Experts, the Local Guides is basically Google’s efforts to get locals to review businesses and share them with others. It employs rating systems for top reviewers just like Yelp and its Elite Reviewers system. You will get a star badge after you do more than 50 reviews on your account. There does not seem to be any quality check on the reviews, so long as the volume is high.
According to their Facebook post, the Local Guides description reads thus, “Through Local Guides, an official Google program, you can share your firsthand local experiences, celebrate places near and far from home, connect with a global community of explorers like you, and help local businesses improve their products and services.”
You can sign up for the Local Guides program with your Google credentials. There is no word out, when it will reach all users.
Recently we had seen that Google Maps has started a voice-enabled lane guidance service in India. The new feature will be available for major roads in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Mysore, Nagpur, Pune, Surat, Thiruvananthapuram, Vadodara and Visakhapatnam. App users will also receive lane guidance on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. The feature is available in English and Hindi.