Google Maps is an essential tool for over 1 billion monthly active users. But what is least known is the sheer size of its user base of content creators. These are more than 120 million users who help a person decide whether to go to a particular institution or not.
Every rating, review or photo that people see on the platform has been posted by one of these users. We will tell you how Google Maps is already developing this direction, what is missing now and how it can be fixed.
Local Google Guides
Like Reddit, Google has a point system. You earn points by posting reviews and photos, but unlike Reddit, they are based on quantity, not quality.
And, of course, the only type of content is reviews. These imaginary internet points, like Reddit karma, accumulate until the author earns badges, and their review is more likely to show up at the top of the site due to the combination of how fresh they are and their status as a local guide.
And given the number of members that Google Maps has, it s safe to say that Google has achieved the gamification aspect of its platform.
Basically, they can get content from an army of contributors who are happy to build a reputation in the form of badges. But this is already changing.
Three components of a quality content platform
A successful content-driven platform provides the user with three main benefits and therefore relies on these benefits to grow in popularity. It:
Social media offers visibility across a user base. A person can create an account for himself, and he will receive a reward either in money or attention, which sometimes gives additional opportunities.
Google Maps lacks ownership and rewards in the form of attention and money.
The user could gain several million views, but did not understand what his profit was. This has changed a bit now.
Go to profiles
At the end of 2019, Google revealed new profiles in Maps, and at the beginning of 2020, they began to work.
With this update, users can follow other members, view their feedback and content. This is how the Reddit website works.
Lessons from Reddit Takeoff
Reddit used to be an anonymous forum where people judged content based on quality. There was no branding, no profiles, no reputation – people voted for what was useful or interesting.
Reddit s move to improved profile pages meant that people could follow individual users, members could post directly to their profile, pin their best content, and even connect a Twitter profile. They were getting attention.
Where Google Maps is Wrong
The problem with Google Maps profile is that you can t connect, the vast majority don t sign up for accounts, local profiles aren t promoted, and a feature is just a feature, not a well thought out element that s critical to the platform.
Google Maps has an unusual and outstanding reach, but the user gets little from it. After all, this attention does not belong to him.
In theory, Google could become a real content platform overnight. A place where members can post credible and approved links. Guides can build a brand, and users can find helpful and detailed reviews of the various.
People are following their favorite bloggers, looking forward to a new video or post, so why not do the same for their favorite place and place reviewer?
Give the opportunity to create full-fledged profiles, create integrations with popular social networks and monetize your content. This will help the platform generate regular useful and interesting content, gain a large fan base and authors.
The steps taken by Google Maps in the UI and Contribution System aim to prioritize user generated content. The reach they offer is huge: people from all over the world are exploring their city or its surroundings.
Millions of users will use it as a utility, but other groups spend a lot of time studying – it s like a news feed, but in the physical world.
The content creators who contribute the most are betting that this shift towards profiles and deeper typing will start to benefit them. Indeed, on many platforms, people first created content just like that, and then it brought them a reward. Therefore, such a scenario can wait for Google Maps.