Google Badges gamifies online news reading

Google Badges - a bit like the scouts, really
Google Badges - a bit like the scouts, really

Google has rolled out Google News Badges in the US, which digitally awards people for reading articles on Google News.

Although it is only for those living in America at the moment, it is an intriguing premise which may well get rolled out globally.

The idea is that you will be awarded anything from a bronze badge, all the way up to a platinum badge, depending on how many online articles you consume on Google News.

Level up

Although Google is trying to gamify news reading, it has laid a few ground rules so you can't beat the system. The most pertinent being: "Badges will level up faster if you read a few relevant articles every day, rather than trying to read everything at once."

So there's no point in clicking on every article every day, as Google will know you are a news cheat.

To get badges, you need to have your web history enabled. For those worried about getting an embarrassing badge – if you are reading an unhealthy amount of celeb gossip, say – then you can hide some of the badges you get and also tweak whether or not your badge system is shared with your Google friends or not.

Google News Badges are available now in the US – and not 1 April, which is what we thought when we first heard of the service.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.