Google launches City Expert program to compete with Yelp

how to become a google city expert experts

Announced without much fanfare this week, Google has launched a new initiative that offers rewards for contributing reviews to Google+ Local and Google Maps. Somewhat similar to the concept of the Yelp Elite program, a Google City Expert will be invited to exclusive events local to their area in addition to receiving custom, Google-branded swag as well as recognition of their efforts likely tied to a badge on their Google+ profile. In order to quality for the City Expert program, a user must have a Google+ account, have at least fifty high quality reviews under their belt and continue to contribute a minimum of five high quality reviews per month. 

City Expert google-localGoogle’s definition of high quality means the review much be a minimum of three or four sentences long and provide “specific, helpful and balanced information” about a restaurant or other type of business in the area.

A solid review would likely include real facts about the user’s experience, information about what the place is known for, helpful tips about the business and constructive criticism if the user has a disappointing time at the location. In addition, users must write intelligently with proper grammar, avoid profanity and stay away from social or political commentary that isn’t relevant to the business.

It’s also likely that users will need to complete their Google+ profile in order to qualify for the City Expert program. That probably includes a photo of themselves as well as a real name. Alternatively, Yelp requires a real name and profile picture prior to being considered for Elite status. Yelp users must also actively participate in the community by voting on new reviews, making comments and generally contributing to the conversation. Elite status lasts for an entire year, then the user is asked to renominate themselves for elite status. Yelp Elite members also have to be 21 and older; legal drinking age to consume alcohol at the Yelp Elite parties. 


Beyond the perks listed above, members of the City Expert program will receive monthly newsletters that could contain promotional offers and discounts for local businesses as well as information about events in the area. Users will also be invited to an exclusive Google+ Community to discuss reviews and tips about using Google+ Local and Google Maps platforms. At the moment, Google’s City Experts program is limited to U.S. residents living in Austin, Chicago, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco. Internationally, City Experts is open to Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester in the United Kingdom, Tokyo and Osaka in Japan and Sydney in Australia. 

If the City Expert program is successful, Google could eventually elevate reviews created by users enrolled in the City Expert program to a featured status when anyone searches for the business on Google. This would provide a higher quality review for the search user, thus giving the user a reason to look on Google first rather than search for the business on Yelp. In turn, businesses owners would want City Expert members to visit their location. It’s likely business owners would attempt to work with Google to run special promotions to entice these elite reviewers to visit and hopefully write a positive review.

Emerging Tech

Singapore uses its smart city tech to help citizens cut through the red tape

Like many governments, Singapore’s puts citizens through plenty of red tape. But as part of its smart-city initiatives, the government is using tech to remove layers of bureaucracy.
Smart Home

Language barrier? Psh. Here's how to make your Google Home an ace translator

You can now use interpreter mode on your Google Home devices. This means, you can use your Google Home device to translate conversations in real-time. Here's how to use interpreter mode.

AT&T adds Minneapolis and Chicago to its mobile 5G road map for 2019

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.

You can now get Google Fi SIM cards straight from Best Buy

Google's wireless service known as Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi. The company also announced the service is now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about…

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 

Russia will ‘unplug’ from the internet as part of a cyber-defense test

Authorities across Russia are planning on unplugging the country from the global internet as part of a test of its cyber defenses. The disconnection will briefly keep all internet traffic inside the country.

Is the 5G spectrum harmful to our health? Experts say, 'Don't freak out'

There's plenty of consumer anxiety about radiofrequency (RF) radiation, specifically around millimeter waves (mmWave) used on 5G networks, but is it based in reality? We asked the FDA to give us its official view on the subject.

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.

Gmail adds lots of new functionality to its right-click menu

Right-click on an email in Gmail and the list of actions is pretty limited. That's about to change, though, as Google has just announced it's expanding the list of options to make its email client that little bit more useful.

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.

File Transfer Protocol explained: What FTP is and what it does

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol," and it's used to transfer files online. Most internet users don't need it, but web developers use it constantly. Here's what FTP is, how it works, and how you can get started using it.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Lose the key for your favorite software? These handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual-monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual-monitor wallpapers for you.