Almost everything is being turned into a game these days, from chores and curing disease to things that should actually be fun in the first place. Now, Google has jumped on the bandwagon, announcing a virtual “rewards system” designed to encourage people to use Google’s News reader.
Announced on the [surl=http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/shareable-google-news-badges-for-your.html]official Google News blog[/surl], the system sounds interesting, to say the least.
Starting today, in the US edition of Google News, you can see how voracious a news reader you are by earning Google News badges as you read articles about your favourite topics.
The more you read, the higher level badge you’ll receive, starting with Bronze, then moving up the ladder to Silver, Gold, Platinum and finally, Ultimate.
There’s even a video to show off how it all works:
As the video explains, these badges are private by default, so nobody needs to know about your love for Harry Potter unless you want to share it with them – but, of course – you are encouraged to let everybody know.
There are 500 different badges available, so – no matter what you’re into, you’re covered by at least one.
Currently being tested and only available in North America, Google is keeping a close eye on just how users share and implement these virtual rewards. If all goes well, you can expect to see more Google News “gaming” features popping up – and, predictably, badges and virtual rewards applied to other online products. Google Docs? Google Calendar? Google Translate? It’s a slippery slope.
(We’re guessing this is probably not the Games at Google initiative brought up in June – fingers crossed that one’s a little more “gamey”.)