Google is certainly very into social these days. The search engine giant’s (they earned this title this quarter, as it came out this week that they made $9 billion) newest feature, Google News badges, uses its big brother capabilities to track what you are reading in the news (while you are signed into your Google account) and awards you badges as you continue to read about your favorite topics. If you read a couple of articles per day in the same category, you will likely earn your badge within one week.
This is a huge plus for Google, because now the search engine can track what its users are reading and tailor news search results to their specific interests. Basically, it the new feature works almost like a rewards system: the more you read, the better badge you get (is this Google’s way of trying to educate our youth about the world?) in the category in which you are interested. The lowest badge is Bronze, and you can slowly achieve higher level badges as you continue to read Google News stories that interest you (while signed into your google account and with your web history enabled). You move from Bronze to Silver, to Gold to Platinum. Once you surpass Platinum, you achieve the highest level badge: Ultimate. Basically, if you aren’t too distracted and stick to one topic (say, fashion) and read multiple articles about it daily, you will probably achieve your Ultimate badge in that category (again, in fashion) pretty quickly.
Though your badges are private at first, you can choose to share them with friends.This way, your friends can learn more about what you are interested in, can start a conversation with you about some mutual interest you share, or bow down to your educated self. Google had the following to say about this new launch: “This is just the first step—the bronze release, if you will—of Google News badges. Once we see how badges are used and shared, we look forward to taking this feature to the next level.” What might this next level be? We hate to sound like a broken record, but this is probably going to tie into Google +. It will personalize the news stream function even more, and bring you articles you might like when you are signed into your profile.