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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Google Maps for Android updated (9.4) with new 'local guides' feature which highlights top reviewers


Google Maps for AndroidGoogle Maps for Android has been updated to version 9.4 which includes a new feature called Local Guides, a new program meant to increase the number of reviews original to Google and highlight the best of them. It is both a feature addition to Maps and something that exists independently of it. Guides are people who will be rewarded for their reviews, while you benefit by having them as a more credible source of information.

You can download the update directly on your Android device through the Google Play Store or by using the following link:

Download
Download from the Google Play Store
Price Free
Requirements Varies with device


Usually the update takes a few days before it is pushed to all regions through the Google Play Store. If you dont want to wait for the update to arrive, you could consider downloading and installing the official APK instead. The APK is signed by the developer and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way.

Download official APK
APK Mirror
File name: com.google.android.apps.maps-9.4.0-904010112-minAPI17.apk
Version: 9.4.0 (904010112) (Android 4.2+)
MD5: 03184933ca57f4b78f6286d1c82fba2d

The updated Google Maps for Android offers similar functionality to Yelp's Elite Reviewers. All you have to do is sign up, start reviewing, and you will move up the ranks as your number of reviews increases. After 50 reviews, the Local Guides badge appears. Given that Google has decided to compete with Yelp, it makes sense that they'd want to do this.

Google Local Guides

You can sign up at the Local Guides page and start reviewing right away. Otherwise, you can download the Maps update and just enjoy Google's increased attention to crowd-sourced ratings.

Unfortunately there is no clear way of weeding out not-so-great reviewers, but we expect the poor reviews will eventually get replaced or moved out of sight. At this point Google will probably want to focus on quantity and not quality anyway.
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