Google hopes Yelp-like perks will get you to review more local spots

It's pretty easy to find local restaurants using Google Maps, but figuring out if they're any good or not? Most folks turn to Yelp or TripAdvisor, which have larger, more hardcore user communities. But Google has just done a makeover on its City Experts service, by switching the name to Local Guides and making it a lot more like Yelp's Elite Squad. The idea is still to encourage local reviewers to sign on, but there are now four expert levels instead of one. As soon as you hit 50 reviews, you'll also get a badge and be highlighted as a top reviewer on Google Maps for Android and iOS.

Top reviewers can also participate in private Google+ communities and local meetups, not unlike Yelp's bashes. They can also check their review counts and ratings on Maps or Google+. Current city experts are enrolled automatically, and if you're willing to "write high-quality reviews and be yourself," you can sign up on the Local Guides site.