Google to Rank Users Based on Reading of News

Dennis Faas's picture

Google is set to launch a new positive reinforcement strategy: those who frequent the Google News website will be rewarded with a designated rank, turning average people into well-read "masters" according to Google's standards.

Rewards take on the form of a virtual badge based on the search and reading histories of Google News supporters. If an individual is an avid reader of baseball reports, for example, Google would issue them a baseball badge. Other popular topics range from general news items (like politics, the stock market) to pop culture (like Harry Potter). Google says that over 500 badges are currently available to the general public.

Like any other situation where mastery is attainable, readers must first prove their mettle by reaching bronze status en route to Silver, Gold, Platinum and finally, the Ultimate level. (Source:

Reward System Independent from Google+

While the badge system is designed as a motivator, there are some privacy concerns over the fact that Google will need to monitor the search histories of their readers to decide which badges have been earned. Google insists that the information needed to secure badges are private and readers need not fear having their search histories revealed to family and friends.

Speaking of family and friends, the timing of the reward system (only weeks after the invite-only launch of Google+) has lead many to believe that the badges are likely to become part of the new social network. As for now, Google has denied any connection between the reward system and Google+.

Initial Feedback Mocks Google

Google is hoping that some will find that the challenge of earning a badge is enough of an incentive to keep them active Google News readers for awhile.

However, initial feedback from independent blogs and other social media forums has taken on more of a mocking tone, with some likening the system to that of a gold-star-like reward more appropriate for a primary school classroom. (Source:

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