‘Local Guides’ now baked into Google Maps, could be bad for Yelp

Nate Swanner - Feb 6, 2015, 12:19pm CST
‘Local Guides’ now baked into Google Maps, could be bad for Yelp

Do you know what a Google ‘Local Guide’ is? It’s the latest re-branding of Google’s community outreach program, once dubbed “City Experts”, which was previously led by teams of Googlers actually doing stuff in your city. The ‘Local Guides’ program was announced last month, but google is getting serious about their crowdsourced restaurant review program. The feature is now baked straight into the Maps app, and apparently resides in both iOS and Android versions of Google Maps. It also steps right on Yelp’s toes.

Local Guides is a fancy title Google has given their fledgling but long in the tooth reviews program. Google even offers up free gifts to their most active reviewers from time to time to encourage more reviews and good vibes.

Google even sponsors meetups and holds Hangouts for ‘Local Guides’, and grants access to a community specific to Local Guides. Local Guides even get a special badge for their Google+ profile (which manifests in reviews, too).

As TechCrunch points out, Google is again taking aim at Yelp. There’s a similar program called Yelp Elite, which offers much of the same benefits as Google’s Local Experts program. As we’ve pointed out at least once before, this Google version of Yelp isn’t new. According to Yelp, Google is also actively trying to push them aside in favor of their own programs, which is why Local Experts may spell trouble for Yelp.

Maps is a massive product, and Local Guides is a platform that — in spite of Google’s best efforts — has never found much favor. So far, Yelp has been able to stave off being in serious trouble from Google’s reviews efforts, but that could change soon.

Via: Android Police

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