In an attempt to drag more users towards Google News (news, site), readers can now earn badges for the stories they view.

Read All About It

If you read a lot of Google News stories, you can now be rewarded with a range of themed badges for whatever content you read. While hardly a radical leap in the direction of gamification (anyone else hate that word?) it gives a decent idea of what media and companies can do to reward users just for visiting.

The video shows what's on offer and also mentions that you can keep them private, although that's hardly the point of gameplay, is it? The feature is only on the U.S. version for now, but could expand worldwide with the addition of soccer balls, cultural symbols and so on.


A Wider Readership

Hopefully you'll soon be able to compete in private leagues with your friends, and you could see the badges theme spread across any sites you search on from Google, or visit from a Google property. They could certainly make a welcome appearance in Google+.

While the idea of badges is nice, we really need to be able to compare or collect in a bigger, brighter way than just cute little icons to increase our web engagement. But from this small step, some neat ideas could emerge.