By Chris Onuoha
Nigerians who make up google local guides were celebrated in Lagos on Saturday, May 4, 2019, for creating content that has added to the rich tapestry of sights and sounds that is Nigeria online.
The event held in Lagos was exclusively for local guides: a global community of explorers who write reviews, share photos, answer questions, add or edit places, and check facts on Google Maps. Millions of people rely on their contributions to decide where to go and what to do.
Juliet Ehimuan, Director leading Google’s business in West Africa, in her keynote congratulated top local guides for their role in contributing to putting Nigeria on the map; helping to change the narrative through pictures, reviews, places, encouraging others to take a closer look at Nigeria.
“The Google Local Guide program is a way for users to contribute content to Google Maps. If we want the narrative about Nigeria and Africa to change, it is up to us to actively put our own content online,” she said.
She also noted that while we enhance navigation and other features on Maps, local Guides play a key role in building the best Maps experience in Lagos.
“This is no easy task. Creating information about a world that was previously known only to locals takes dedication and passion for the community. Many of the local guides signed up out of a simple desire to help others and ensure that local business and places got the recognition they deserved.
Others did so out of pride for their communities, and yet others are creating content for the sole purpose of sharing the joy of exploration. Whatever their reason, collectively, these local guides have added 89,000 photos to Google Maps that have more than 146 million views, and they have written 487,000 reviews that have helped 3.4 million people,” Ehimuan added.
She also pointed that from business listings to photographs of the Lagos coastline, from landmarks to reviews for a favourite suya spot, the local guides have populated Google Maps, giving residents a sense of pride and belonging, and visitors an inside view of the Nigeria we know and love.
As someone passionate about African opportunity and growth, Ehimuan is particularly proud of the Local Guides initiative as it clearly demonstrates how technology weaves seamlessly with local knowledge to bring people together and position Africa at the forefront of the next phase in technology: digital connection for the next billion users.
“It illustrates, perhaps better than most examples, her vision for Africa’s digital future: Africans investing time, energy and technology into Africa. With the local guides programme, Nigerians are taking responsibility for how their communities are perceived, telling their own stories, and showcasing their essence to the world. It is clear that the future belongs to the informed and it is now more vital than ever to create and curate accurate information about our lives,” Ehimuan noted.
While being optimistic on the merits of the local guide’s impact, she noted; “There is no doubt that Lagos is a vibrant, fast paced metropolis, and the number of guides invested in showcasing the best that the city has to offer is a testament to that. The local guides in Lagos alone have doubled in a year, bringing the country’s total to about 500,000 – people working to establish Nigeria as a dynamic centre of fashion, food, entertainment, commerce and so much more.”