Lately, Google has been on the binge in updating and improving its services. One of the latest is a newly added feature on its navigation app – Google Maps.
The tech company will soon be testing a new feature that would allow users to follow others. You would think that this feature is more common to social media networks like Facebook and not a navigation app.
Regardless, this feature will help those who are having trouble with where exactly to go during their trips.
Google Maps will now let you follow local guides
It has always been a dilemma to decide on places to explore when you are on a trip. Even if you have already planned out ahead your itinerary, you should get confused about where to go. In addition to that, it also produces another problem such as what to do while you are there.
Thankfully, Google Maps will soon be testing out a new feature that answers just that. In the navigation app’s case, it is specifically rolling out a feature that lets users follow the top “Local Guides.” It is a community where active members constantly review businesses and share with Google Maps photos and other knowledge as part of a larger reward program.
The Local Guides program was launched back in 2015 as a take on Yelp Elites by allowing its active Maps contributors to earn a status as a tastemaker of some sorts for their own hometown. These local guides would write-up a more in-depth business review as well as posting photos in order to help other Google Maps users about the place.
And in exchange for their honest reviews, they will receive a variety of perks such as early access to new features, free access to Google services, discounts and coupons, and exclusive local meetups.
“Follow” feature on Google Maps
Now, Google says that it will be kicking off a pilot program that will allow Google Maps users to follow top Local Guides in selected markets by simply clicking a new “Follow” button on these Guides’ profile pages.
Then, the Guides’ recommendations will show up for you when you are using Google Maps. A “For You” tab will also appear in a new section in the app where you will find the are recommendations from the Local Guides.
In the meantime, Google is piloting the program in Bangkok, Delhi, London, Mexico City, New York, Osaka, San Francisco, São Paulo, and Tokyo. And if everything goes well, it would definitely expand to more markets.
The feature is Google’s latest take on Facebook as the first choice for discovering area businesses and keeping up with their news, events, sales and more. Just a little over a year ago, Google rolled out a “Follow” feature for tracking businesses on the Maps app and later expanded to iOS.
Furthermore, this summer, Google launched a host of tools for local businesses that allowed them to easily update their profiles and photos on Google Maps, get a short URL and send offers to their customers. But, Google is focused on getting its users to follow and interact with businesses itself.
New feature to come to very soon…
Google’s new feature was announced during the annual Local Guides summit. The tech company shared how its Local Guides community has tremendously grown to 120 million people across 24,000 cities and towns. The company might be celebration user growth, however, it is not necessarily with an eye on review quality.
If Local Guides can’t be trusted to give other users compelling, detailed and fair reviews, people will not consider this feature as interesting. Worse, they won’t be compelled to “follow” these Guides for any recommendations.
Lastly, there was no official word when the “Follow” feature would launch into these select markets. Google just said that it would be arriving “soon.”