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July 15, 2011

Google News Badges

Google News added a feature that could encourage users to read more: collectible badges. "The U.S. Edition of Google News now lets you collect private, sharable badges for your favorite topics. The more articles you read on Google News, the more your badges level up: you can reach Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and finally Ultimate. Keep your badges to yourself, or show them off to your friends," informs Google.

Google created more than 500 badges, so it's very likely that you'll collect at least one of them if you visit Google News frequently. Badges reward people that constantly read articles on a certain topic, so you're more likely to receive a badge if you read 3-4 articles a day about Google than if you read 10 articles about Google every 3-4 days.

While this feature could encourage users to visit Google News more often, the main purpose is to find people that know a lot of things about certain topics. "Your badges are private by default, but if you want, you can share your badges with your friends. Tell them about your news interests, display your expertise, start a conversation or just plain brag about how well-read you are," suggests Google.

Instead of manually adding your favorite topics to your profile, you could add Google News badges. It's one way to show your expertise and it could be useful if Google plans to integrate Aardvark with Google+ and launch a social Q&A service.

Badges also help you find your favorite Google News topics and add customized sections to the homepage. Google News now uses sliders to let you fine tune your personalized hompepage.

If you don't like badges, there's an option in the Google News settings page that lets you disable this feature.

{ Thanks, Jason. }


  1. What do you mean "rewarded"? We collect these badges, okay. So what happens when we get a platinum or ultimate badge? Do we get to have sex with Angelina Jolie? Our mortgage is paid off? What is the incentive for collecting all these badges? The sole purpose of them is to track our interests for directed advertising, obviously. So what do we get out of it, besides showing off some cheesy badges?

  2. It is called gamification and it is everywhere now. Most people are influenced by it.

    I wonder if they could implement this system in Google Reader.

  3. People can collect badges for 'reading' things, but what is meant by 'reading'? Clicking on articles? Skimming them? How will the badge reward system know i people actually read the articles, and if they do, if they understand and remember them?

    - What use is it if a person 'reads' about topics, but don't really remember and digest the information?

    All the badge-reward system will reward is hoarding based on either clicking links or shallow reading... unless it is based on some smart effective way of measuring real learning.

  4. "It is called gamification and it is everywhere now. Most people are influenced by it." What sort of rubbish is that... spam?

  5. it is rubbish, it is spam, by "most people" she means "some people - who are gullible or simple".

    I've seen it used in an application called SteamGameClient, to shocking popularity - but that's a gameplay platform aimed at 12 to 30 yr demographic.

  6. Intelligent posts are spam? Interesting world you live in.

    Anyone who thinks that games are mostly played by 12-30 year olds is definitely "simple". Heaven forbid you guys put an ounce of effort into looking up gamification and how it is increasingly being used to influence behavior. It uses our ever increasing knowledge of psychology and behavioral economics.

  7. And what action gets you a badge? Does one need to click and read an article from directly from Google news? I have multiple sources for my news, the main one being my iGoogle page where I have RSS feeds from Google News, HuffPo, BBC, Fark, Reuters, and etc.. I really didn't care until I notice the only badge I've collected is for an entertainer because I read one article about her but there's nothing from the multiple other interests I have (mostly science and current events.) Kind of lame, really.

  8. I think it's a pretty cool idea. You might complain that it doesn't recognize your other feeds and news sources but if it did, I'd think that that'll be an invasion of privacy. Personally, Google news badges should stay within Google news. If you use other sources, you forfeit 'leveling up' (as I said, I like the idea).

  9. I just want to say...My wife wants a bear badge. She knows it's not an available badge. However, she wants a bear badge. Please help her out with this. She has been reading tons of articles about bears on the slim hope that you might offer a bear badges at some point.

  10. Badges? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING BADGES! The banditos were right.... Hey Google; stop inventing CRAP like this.

  11. I agree with the above "WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING BADGES!" post. Badges are annoying. I don't read the news as a game. I don't know how this "feature" existed for a whole year without poping up on me before, but "hiding" badges isn't good enough, I want to disable this completely. Maybe i'll read news somewhere else in the mean time.


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