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What Google’s Local Guide Photo Sharing Update Means For Businesses

Google Android can automatically match images on its phones with the exact locations the photos were taken at.

Google has been telling local businesses that they’d better make sure their sites are in the best shape to look good on mobile.

But looking sharp in the physical world may still be a bit more important, as Google Local Guides will now have an easier time of sharing multiple images of the places they take photos of.

“No more digging through photos and searching for the right business — now we automatically match them for you with Google Photos,” says Google in an email to its Local Guides.

The Google Photos feature is coming soon to Apple’s iOS as well as desktop. But for now, Android users can simply turn on the back up and location features in Google Photos to have their place-based images appear in the “Contribute tab” of Google Maps.

Google Android Map

The move comes after Google’s May announcement that its Google Now, the all-in-one mobile app, would connect indoor mapping to inventory ads.

By removing one small level of friction for people to share information and images of a place, local merchants can take advantage of the flurry of images going up about them. In turn, it will become more imperative that they nail down their social and search discovery strategies as the marketing of their businesses will be increasingly in the hands of customers in Google’s Local Guides program.

In a sense, Google Local Guides are the field reporters of Google Maps, offering information about what places are hot — or not — as well as supplying important updates about changes in location information.

Aside from the points of pride garnered by elite access to correct reviews and to have their reviews highlighted, Local Guides can accrue more tangible incentives.

Last year, Local Guides began receiving “points” for posting reviews, images, and other information about businesses with different tiers or levels that can be attained as more info is shared on Google Maps.

Still, Google’s magnanimity does have its limits. Case in point: Android Police is reporting that Local Guides who reach “level four” will now only get 100 gigabytes of Google Drive storage of no-cost cloud access for two years instead of the previously promised terabyte.

“It might be that Google Maps’ recent updates that incentivize you with notifications to post photos, reviews, and answer questions about places you’re visiting has had a positive effect and Google is seeing more and more people reach Level 4,” Android Police’s Rita El Khoury writes. “This is why, in order to provide everyone with free storage, it’s lowering the amount to 100GB instead of 1TB.”

While Google’s reasoning is understandable, El Khoury isn’t very pleased (and other Local Guides probably feel the same):

“Excuse me while I scramble to post all the photos and reviews that I’ve been putting off for months… and try to understand why of my 97 (mostly detailed) reviews, Local Guides is only counting 12,” she notes. “What the hell, Google?!”