Jul 27, 2011

[Google] News Badges Means I Follow Republicans?

So just over a week ago, Google announced the launch of Google News Badges, a rather comical way of tracking what you read on Google News. Yeah, this got an eyebrow raise from me at the time as well.

Now the gamer geek in my generally enjoys the idea of trophies. Sure, they're meaningless achievements with no monetary value, but they do provide an interesting incentive to keep playing. After all, games are already seeded with all these different secrets,bonus areas and hidden items, so why not track them, right?

Google News Badges

But to have the same system be applied to a news aggregation site like Google News? Yeah, it does feel a tad weird. Given that I'm a regular Google News user anyway, I decided to see what badges I might earn with my normal browsing habits. And the result was those four badges up there - at least so far. I guess all my following of the current US budget issues has tagged me as being interested in Republican-related news despite my general affinity for the Democratic party.

Has this enhanced my Google News experience thus far? Not really, at least that's yet to be seen. The badges are hard to attain since you don't know how many articles are needed to win one. Plus you don't even know how an article is tagged in the badge system - thus my wondering why I still don't have a badge related to queer news. Go figure. The other benefit to the badges is supposed to be to help me identify new sections that I might want to create in Google News to track topics of interest, but thus far I'm not seeing anything that I'm not already reading.

But let's continue this experiment and see where it goes. As much as Google Labs is already dead, it looks like Google will continue to tinker with weird ideas like these badges.
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