Google Turns News Reading into Game
It seems that marketers have decided that the easiest way to engage people is to add a points system to their product. Google thinks it will work for reading the news, too.
Google has announced a new feature called News Badges that will reward those who read the news. The more news you read, the more badges you get. Badges are given according to topic; Google's example is a basketball badge for those who read basketball news. Then badges level up the more you read, reaching bronze, silver, gold, platinum and, finally, ultimate status.
Google says that news badges are an opportunity to show your interests as well as find more things you're interested in. Google will track your reading habits and help you find more articles in similar topics, tailoring searches to things you like.
The news game capitalizes on the human nature to accumulate rewards, and the badges can be made public and shared so others can see your interests and how well read you are in a particular topic.
Of course, Google isn't just doing this on a whim, and the ramifications of news badges might worry some privacy-minded users. News badges not only encourage users to view more pages with Google ads on them, it requires that users enable Web history on their Google account. That means Google is carefully recording what you search and where you browse .
There is a growing demand for personal data on Internet users so companies can tailor ads to specific types of people. Facebook has an obvious advantage in this new market and Google is trying to catch up . News badges will help Google gather information that will be valuable to many different companies.
Still, if you really want to have visible proof of your fanaticism for basketball or whatever else — there are over 500 badges to unlock — Google News Badges will certainly scratch that itch.