Google News tries to gamify news-reading

17 Jul

Game mechanics applied to user experience design and marketing (also referred to by some as “Gamification”) has been a popular topic in Silicon Valley and beyond in the past few years, and now even Google is taking a page out of this book. The U.S. edition of Google News is awarding various levels of badges to readers active in specific news topics through a feature called Google News Badges.

According to, this idea is “Ugh. Bad.” While I’m not a gamification expert, and don’t aspire to be one, I have to disagree. As a consumer, this is the first time I have encountered a game rewards system in a non-game setting that I immediately found exciting and useful. Of course I want to know how my news-reading measures up to my friends and the wider world! And I have a feeling my competitive side will indeed be fueled to read more in topics I supposedly care about (even though cheating here would be a bit too easy).

Perhaps this is because I’m a nerd, but I have a feeling Google News Badges will be fun for other nerds everywhere.


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