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Google Introduces News Badges for U.S. Users

Weeks after the launch of Google+, Google introduced 500 news badges that avid U.S. news readers can earn as they read content featured on the Google News website. Tailored to reflect all news categories, the new badges are an incentive for users to share more content with their contacts across all Google services.

What You Need to Know

Google news badges are similar to the points and badges Foursquare awards to users who repeatedly check in to certain locations. In total there are 500 badges currently available, and they are sorted by rank. The lowest badge you can get is “bronze.” The highest is “ultimate.” Available badges include Harry Potter and Stock Market, which you can win if you read news on Harry Potter or the stock market.

By default, badges are private, so that only you can see them. However, you have the option to let other people see them, too. You may want to do this to show your new friends what topics interest you.

At the moment, Google news badges are only available to U.S. users. To access them, users must register a web account. It’s worth noting that in order to collect badges you must have web history enabled. If you’re concerned about your privacy, you may find that a little disheartening.

Google engineer Natasha Mohanty explained that American readers of Google News can now earn badges as they read about topics that interest them. She added that currently there are five badge levels: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and ultimate. Natasha concluded that users may want to make their Google news badges public in order to share their interests with other people.

Making News More Social

The introduction of Google news badges is not surprising considering that Google+, a networking platform with a focus on content sharing, has been launched just weeks ago. Now, by acquiring badges, you can showcase your expertise and boast about what you’ve read. You can make your news reading a more social experience.

The new badges come at a time when the hype for Google+ is at its peak. They are yet another signal that the Internet giant is keen on making more of its users share content. It looks like Google wants users to do what Facebook users are doing: share content all the time. If you’re using Google for business, it’s another way to rank higher on SERPs.