Google Local Guides is an open-community project that I have been working on for the past couple years. It's a service that relies on participants to submit a review, edit, photograph, video, adds a place, answer questions that have been submitted by other users on Google Maps to make them more accurate or useful for others. Each submission is reviewed, and if a participant provides a good addition, they are rewarded with a predetermined amount of points for their Local Guides profile. The better or most accurate the content provided, the better you help people searching for that information.
Since I have an interest in photography, I focused on providing photographs more than anything other contribution. I wanted to create each photograph with a lot of visual information in them each place. Once I saw what had been uploaded to Google Maps so far, the images were a bit lack luster when it came to provide any useful information for users at-a-glance. My photographs focus on what amenities, parking, and anything that I would want to know as a visitor to the location. Once I started to see the images I put uploaded used more and more often by visitors, I knew I was on to something. I set a goal of less than 100 images and breaking 1 million views.
In July 2018 I busted over 1 Million views with 92 images. I currently have 97 images and 1,075,128 views and still growing. I set a goal of 1M views because I noticed others with over a 1M views had hundreds of images, and what I saw in their submissions were similar to the type I saw first; they had the location in them but they were also in the pictures. I believed that information-based photos were what people wanted to see and I thought if I could get to 1M views with a faction of the images used, than that would support my belief, and it did, people were consistently using my images and I started to see my submissions used as the default image in Google maps.
As a reward for hitting 1M hits with under 100 images, I got me a lens kit and all kinds of fun new toys for my Nikon. I am still a level 5 on Local Guides, but in the coming years, I plan on getting Master Photographer. Master Photographer is when someone submits 1000 places and gets 1M views. I already got the 1M views achieved with less than 100, so I just need to get the 1000 locations. My new goal is 5M views or 1M views for a single image. The most viewed picture I have up is sitting at 89,694 views, and as you can see it's a gazebo showing the awning, bathrooms, shelter, and tables (all one would need to know for planning an outing at this location). I have been very pleased with this effort and continue to build my photographs for Local Guides.
Update - 7-15-2021 I need to get out and photograph more places to continue to add locations, but I’m happy my submissions are still being used a lot and many of them are now the new default image Google uses for the location. I am at 107 images with 3.2M views.