Google Trips and Local Guides

By Andrew Hudson Published: September 19, 2016 Updated: February 1, 2017

Google has launched Google Trips, a trip-planning and tour-guide app based on Google Maps, the Google Local Guides program, and Google’s Zagat guides.

Google Trips

Google Trips is a city guides app launched in September 2016 with day plans, reservations, things to do, and download (offline) capability.

“For the top 200 cities in the world, Google Trips shows you a variety of day plans featuring the most popular daily itineraries. We’ve automatically assembled the most popular sights, attractions, and local gems into a full day’s tour — all based on historic visits by other travelers.”
Google Blog, Sep 19 2016

Google Local Guides

Launched in Jaunary 2015, Local Guides is a community of contributors to Google. Local Guides replaced City Experts on February 16, 2015.

“Local Guides know local places like no other. Join this community of explorers and share your discoveries with the world on +Google.”
— Google+, Jan 15, 2015

“Local Guides is a global community of explorers sharing their discoveries on Google Maps. Help others find the best spots in town, make new friends, and unlock exclusive benefits along the way.”
Local Guides

“The Local Guides program, for those unfamiliar, is meant to help Google increase the number of high-quality business reviews on its site by encouraging top reviewers to post more often in exchange for a variety of benefits.”
Techcrunch, Feb 6, 2015


The Zagat Survey was established in 1979 by Tim and Nina Zagat as a restaurant guide with user-contributed reviews. The company was acquired by Google in 2011 for $151 million.

“[Zagat’s] surveys may be one of the earliest forms of UGC (user-generated content)—gathering restaurant recommendations from friends, computing and distributing ratings before the Internet as we know it today even existed.”
Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President of Local, Maps and Location Services, Sep 8, 2011

Field Trip

Precursor to Pokémon Go, Field Trip is an augmented-reality travel guide by Google spin-off Niantic.

“The future of Augmented Reality.”
— The Atlantic

“Field Trip, your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you. Field Trip runs in the background on your phone. When you get close to something interesting, it will notify you. You select the local feeds you like and the information pops up on your phone automatically, as you walk next to those places.”

Google Maps Timeframe

  • 2004: Two Danish brothers, Lars and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen, develop the basis of Google Maps as a C++ program for Where 2 Technologies in Sydney.
  • Oct 2004: Google acquires Where 2 as the basis of Google Maps.
  • 2004: Google acquires Keyhole, a geospatial data visualization company, for $35 million. Keyhole’s marquee application suite, Earth Viewer, became the Google Earth application in 2005.
  • Sep 2004: Google acquires ZipDash, a realtime traffic analysis company.
  • Feb 2005: Google Maps application announced on the Google Blog.
  • Jul 2005: Panoramio started in Spain by Joaquín Cuenca Abela and Eduardo Manchón Aguilar.
  • 2005: Google Earth released.
  • May 25, 2007: Google Street View released.
  • Jul 2007: Google acquires Panoramio.
  • Dec 2009: Google Aerial View released.
  • 2010: Niantic formed as an internal Google startup, by Keyhole’s founder John Hanke.
  • Sep 2011: Zagat Survey acquired by Google.
  • May 2012: Google Places replaced by Google+ Local, with reviews and ratings from Zagat.
  • Aug 2012: Google buys Frommer’s, the printed travel guide company.
  • 2012: Google Niantic publishes the Field Trip app, “your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you.”
  • Apr 2013: Google sells Frommer’s to founder Arthur Frommer.
  • Aug 2013: August 2013, Google Maps removes the Wikipedia Layer, which provided links to Wikipedia content about locations using Wikipedia geocodes.
  • Aug 2014: Google buys Jetpac, a “city guides” company using neural network technology.
  • Jan 2015: Local Guides program anounced (replacing City Experts), where users can join a community of explorers and share their discoveries with the world (on Google products).
  • Oct 2015: Niantic spun off by Google as an independent company, in partnership with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company.
  • Jul 2016: Niantic releases Pokémon Go, which becomes Apple’s most downloaded app in a first week ever.
  • Sep 2016: Google Trips app released.

You might also like

Images are screenshots from October 24, 2016.

Next page: Panoramio closes

Add Your Comment



Email (optional):

Submit your comment: