Google updates Local Guides with more perks and payouts for avid explorers

Google is making some changes to its Local Guides system in Maps to encourage users to add to the service. Through Local Guides, users can accrue points and level up through contributions like reviews and photos of locations.

One of the more notable updates is that Google has added another five levels to the system. Previously, users would hit level five and pretty much stay capped there, but now guides can take it all the way up to 10. These higher levels will require exponentially more points to clear than the lower ones, which brings us to another change Google is making here: New rewards.

Google previously sought to incentivize guides with “early access” to new features and special perks from partners, but the latest additions to the reward system will deliver even better benefits to the most avid explorers. Reaching level four before the end of August will earn you 75 percent off movie rentals from Google Play and three months of free access to Play Music.

The way you earn those points is changing a bit, too. Being one of the first to contribute to a location will result in higher payouts — which will come in handy, seeing as how completing level ten will require a whopping 100,000 points. For reference, level five takes only 500 points to get through.

There’s also been a reclassification of the earnings for each type of contribution, like ratings versus reviews, answers, or photos. Under the new system, adding a place will earn you 15 points — the most of any single activity. A rating and review provides the second highest payout, at six points.

The new system will retroactively apply to contributions you’ve already made in the past, which means you could see your point total rise significantly post update. And if you’ve been a guide for a while, you may even rise a couple levels.

If you’re interested in becoming a guide, you can check out Google’s dedicated website to learn more and sign up. Google says the update is in the process of rolling out around the world, so it may be a while before it hits your account.