What you need to know
- Google's Local Guides program has exploded since its launch in 2015.
- The company is now testing a feature that would let you follow your favorite guides from within Maps.
- Each guide will get an Instagram-like feed to show off their latest escapades.
Google Maps is taking a cue from the world of social media and is currently testing a feature that lets you follow Local Guides inside the app. The company also announced that the Local Guides program now includes 120 million members across 24,000 locales.
If you've ever tried searching for a restaurant or a business on Maps, you might have seen the tiny star under some reviewers' profile that marks them as Local Guides, people Google considers active and engaged members of its community and whose reviews you can trust. While you can currently come across these prolific foodies and adventurers haphazardly as you search for different places, what if you wanted to follow the exploits of one of them more closely?
Well, Google is promising to release just such a feature soon, the company announced at its Connect Live summit for Local Guides. Maps will soon start showing a 'For You' tab to users in Bangkok, Delhi, London, Mexico City, New York, Osaka, San Francisco, São Paulo, and Tokyo — the nine cities the program is being piloted in. Clicking on it will show a horizontal feed of some of the top guides in the area that you can follow, alongside a collage of their best-looking photos. Clicking on one should take you to their profile, where you can see a collection of their pictures, as well as a feed of their most recent reviews. You should also be able to follow any Local Guides you come across by yourself.
Once you've followed a few such guides, the For You tab will function pretty much like your Facebook feed and is where Google will show you the latest reviews by all of the guides you follow, with the ultimate goal of encouraging greater engagement between Maps users and helping you discover the favorite spots of your favorite Local Guides.
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