Google hosted its second Local Guides Summit for the people who contribute content about businesses in their local areas to Google Maps and Search earlier this week. It brought together 150 top contributors from 62 countries to the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2016, there were 75 attendees from 37 countries. Last year, there were 5 million Local Guides around the world. Remarkably, the number has now grown to 50 million — a 10x increase in one year. To attend the Summit, Local Guides needed have attained at least “level 5” (out of 10) and submit an application that included a 1-minute video. A level 5 is someone who has 500 points from making various types of local content and data contributions to Google Maps: ratings, reviews, images, video and so on. Luiz André Barroso, vice president of engineering on Google Maps, delivered the opening Summit keynote, which was essentially an appreciation for the efforts of Local Guides. He discussed the ways in which Guides were helping other users and their communities. After the keynote, I got to speak with Laura Slabin, head of the Local Guides program. We discussed the massive scale of the program and some of its mechanics….
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