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Google Launches News Badges 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-must-be-the-decade-of-sharing-literally-everything dept.
theodp writes "Does it make you sad that you're too grown up to earn Scouting Merit Badges? Well, thanks to the PhDs at Google, you can now start earning Google News badges as you read articles about your favorite topics. The more you read, the higher rank you'll attain; Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and finally, Ultimate. They say, 'Your badges are private by default, but if you want, you can share your badges with your friends. Tell them about your news interests, display your expertise, start a conversation or just plain brag about how well-read you are.'"
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Google Launches News Badges

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  • Contrary to popular belief, reading news that is mass produced by large corporations with vested interests and that manipulate and actively suppress fact does not make you "well read".

    Not even sophomoric. Books are real reading. I want badges for the number of science fiction books. I read four in the last two weeks!

    These badges just prove that you're addicted to some thing that is new and always being updated. It's like refreshing on Slashdot for a new article to appear. At least I'll get a badge for wasti

    • by Ambvai (1106941)

      Ignoring any arguments about mainstream journalism, at least it's a push to try and get people to read more news. People respond to the whole achievements system and this is being pointed towards something useful.

      • Any achievements system can be gamed.
        For every online chufty badge, a bot WILL be written to exploit it. No exceptions.

        • by TheLink (130905)
          I wonder if there would be Chinese badge farmers.

          They might be a bit handicapped for any "Tiananmen" related campaigns...
    • "Well read" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by traindirector (1001483) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:17PM (#36787850)

      Exactly--a preoccupation with "news" stories is the opposite of being well read. Being well read involves understanding the depths of artistic works / events. News stories provide the opposite, especially from the establishment media. They provide surface-level summaries of what some people have said that generally serve corporate and political interests.

      I don't think anyone's immune to being interested in the latest happenings, waiting for some great or tragic event to bolster or destroy a cause or bring salvation or damnation. But this superficiality works against a true understanding of what's going on, and such a reward system incentivizes chasing "what's new" over what's true or what's good.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      I for one like these new badges and their ability for me recognize useless people more easily.

    • by decora (1710862) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:42PM (#36788068) Journal

      lets take "magnetar capital" for example.

      there has been one book that discusses this little hedge fund, its called EConned (which grew out of a blog called nakedcapitalism.com).

      on the other hand there have been a half-dozen news stories about it, some of the first being in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

      there have been pretty much zero science fiction books that deal with financial engineering, credit derivatives, tranched securities, and everything else related to the financial crisis.

      there are a lot of good reporters working for the 'corporate media', including louise story and gillian tett.

      ---------

      i could also talk about the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group Files, which were originally found by an 'independent researcher', but later more thoroughly examined by someone who had worked for the LA Times.

      i dont think there are any science fiction books about the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group Files.

      • Ah well, don't mind it. The "everything in the news is biased bullshit" is just another one of those faux-cynic memes spouted around here daily. It's working along the same lines as the "all politicians are equal"-meme. Doesn't help dealing with reality, but it won't go away either. Like the smell of piss in a derelict subway station.
    • Luckily, only newspaper publishers are controlled by corporations with vested interests, so readers of books are entirely safe...

      The assertion that much of contemporary journalism is rubbish at best and propaganda at worst is hardly false; but it isn't as though the economics of other information-dissemination media, especially the ones with relatively high costs or natural-monopolies in infrastructure are any different.
    • by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:54PM (#36788160) Homepage Journal

      just going in on a specific genre doesn't make you well read either. reading exclusively scifi and fantasy just makes you a dork idiot, too, though if you have time there's no reason why you shouldn't have read potters, if only to rip on it's stupid text and print edit techniques which are straight from elementary school to increase page count. some news give some context for reading some books though, like potters.. but it's different kind of reading when you read the news, because current events after all are current events and updates on past current events are still news. if you want to list what you've read in the past 4 weeks go ahead, it's easy enough, nobody's going to give a crap though and nobody's going to give a crap about these badges. though, how long till someone codes a firefox extension that gets you the badge levels?

      • by gregrah (1605707)
        If you're going to make a statement like this...

        reading exclusively scifi and fantasy just makes you a dork idiot

        ...you probably don't want to follow it up immediately with a statement like this...

        though if you have time there's no reason why you shouldn't have read potters, if only to rip on it's stupid text and print edit techniques which are straight from elementary school to increase page count.

        ... because reading through several thousand pages of text only to blog about how bad the typesetting is seems a lot like something the comic book guy on the Simpsons would do. :)

    • Were your science-fiction books not also "mass produced by large corporations with vested interests and that manipulate and actively suppress fact"? Could they possibly be publishing fiction with themes that reinforce the same sort of effect you find reprehensible in the media?

      Sci-fi has a long history of being written by reactionary, patriarchal, authoritarian people, you know.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Contrary to popular belief, reading news that is mass produced by large corporations with vested interests and that manipulate and actively suppress fact does not make you "well read"

      In fact, that would make you dangerously misinformed.

      There are so few commercially viable sources for news that does not stick to a purely corporate agenda that it's almost impossible for the average reader to find one. The publishing industry has been consolidated (like every single other industry in the United States) with t

      • by improfane (855034)

        Another example of this was in the British newspaper industry in the 1960s. Working class newspapers faded from the market because corporate newspapers were able to raise more funding through advertisements.

        You cannot compete against well funded.

      • Anyone who gets their news from commercial outlets, or corporate megaphones like the Huffington Post are being purposely misinformed. It's downright dangerous.

        getting news from corp based 'talkers' *is* dangerous. I'd rather someone know nothing than know only propaganda.

      • What you say about radio stations is true. One of the newer tactics is enticing cash strapped colleges and universities to sell their radio stations/frequencies (usually to the great dismay of the communications department and the community). So instead of having a community service or an educational tool or both, you end up with something probably legally classified as a "religious nonprofit" set up as a repeater of some remotely-produced dogmafeed. [Did I just make that term up? No search engine results f

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:08PM (#36787796)

    To get started with badges, visit Google News from a signed-in account with web history

    Ha-ha. Fuck no.

    I refuse to give up one of the few pieces of data about me that Google allows me to control... for a few pixels.

  • by tero (39203) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:12PM (#36787820)

    Oh well look at that, yet another feature that Google Apps users will not be able to use.

    It seems the best way to opt-out of new Google stuff is to become their customer - then you can't get on these things even if you wanted it.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      that's only fitting since it's a marketing ploy out of last years marketing 101. you want to focus marketing on growth.

  • Badges? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:13PM (#36787824) Homepage Journal

    We don't need no stinkin' badges.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google already know everything about you including how big it is!

  • Badges... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ChinggisK (1133009) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:17PM (#36787854)
    ...badges badges badges badges badges badges badges mushroom mushroom MUSHROOM!
  • The mental process of you wanting to read a piece of news and so extend your awareness of the world is completely incompatible with the mental process of you trying to be done with a task in order to get abstract points. Seems to me that someone at Google who understands neither is trying to push social into news b/c their bonus depends on it.

  • Great, I am going to make a Script that "reads" all kind of news on my behalf, then I will be know as an expert in "why badges are meaningless".

  • Good! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by molnarcs (675885) <molnarcs AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:20PM (#36787882) Homepage Journal
    I know that there'll be a steady stream of snarky remarks about who ridiculous the whole idea is, but it's still a brilliant move. Due to my work, I'm in constant touch with the "new generation" - students in the range of 13-25. And they like this kind of stuff. Don't ask me why, but they are fascinated by the possibilities of exhibitionism on the Internet - "telling the world what you're doing" kinda of stuff. Had a girlfriend a few months back, and she loved Facebook of course, and location services. She loved to "check in" every place she went to, and let everybody know that she is there. Once we traveled to the south of the city, which is a huge area of mangrove forest. There's absolutely nothing there, just a very small and rather poor fishing village, lots of water, swamp, and thick mangrove forests. And when we arrived, she was trying to check in with her phone. Amazing! This is just one of the many reasons why our relationship was brief. But the point is, that young people love collecting things like that, even if it sounds ridiculous to some of us. I'm not that old actually (34), but I know many here are older than that ;)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They are not fascinated. It is just peer pressure. If you do not have an interesting facebook profile you're not an interesting person and therefor you do not matter.
      shallow, stupid, yes, but that is what peer pressure is.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You and I are not the target audience for this. I could see it as interesting to do though. It is a point system. MS took a crap peering system (ms live) that cost money (all the others were free at the time) and made it the best on the net by putting a point system on it. Suddenly everyone wanted achievement points.

        If you have 10 points you probably do not care about it. But if you have 10k in points you will defend it. You have time 'invested' in them. Same thing will happen here.

      • there's the peer pressure, sure; but they truly have been conditioned to think its perfectly fine to just write about yourself or do anything the corps want. they can't quite see that they are being used. later on, they will; but they are young enough to not quite be able to discern this.

    • Due to my work, I'm in constant touch with the "new generation" - students in the range of 13-25. And they like this kind of stuff. Don't ask me why, but they are fascinated by the possibilities of exhibitionism on the Internet - "telling the world what you're doing" kinda of stuff.

      here's my insight (don't laugh too much, ok) - I frequent some of the deals/coupons sites (where users post urls of deals, sales, discounts, freebies and then 'defend' their post, etc). its interesting to see how people will so

  • Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!
  • Oh sure, for years now Slashdot has been railing on about how great Google is and how they are the Messiah company of the modern computing industry. But now what? Now that Google has produced a direct competitor to Slashdot's famous Karma-whoring....errrrr....Karma building system will you still sing their praises?

    Eh Taco? Is Google still the bell of the Slashdot ball or are you going to jump in bed with Jobs and Balmer now and start harpooning Google since they are about to eat your Karma building lunch
    • how is karma (/. version) even close to this?

      beign modded up or down BY OUR MOSTLY GEEK PEERS is actually quite appealing to most of us.

      being modded as 'expert' by some corp (single corp, a mega powerful and scary one, at that) has less than zero appeal to me.

      • single corp, a mega powerful and scary one, at that

        Add "scared" and "angry" to it.

        I hope Google will get over this social thing and focus back on providing good data mining and organizing tools. There is such thing as "core competency" and for Google social it ain't.

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:33PM (#36787980) Homepage Journal
    The future is one step closer: courtesy of SMBC [smbc-comics.com].
  • Soon, they'll have badges for how many emails you send from Gmail, how many circles you have in Google+, how many searches you preform in a day, and, most importantly, how many adds you view in a day.
  • I'm not too grown up.

    I might be too old. I'll concede that.

  • by srussia (884021) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:40PM (#36788044)
    Belgian [slashdot.org], you insensitive clod!
  • OP is a CA

  • by dtmos (447842) * on Saturday July 16, 2011 @03:48PM (#36788118)

    Why would:

    (a) My friends be interested in my news interests? I'm not interested in theirs. . .except under unusual circumstances, when I'll just ask them myself. . . .
    (b) I want to display my expertise, start a conversation or just plain brag about how well-read I am? Wouldn't that just drive any (remaining) friends away?
    (c) I want to give Google a signed-in account with web history, and permission to track me in even greater detail?

    I confess that this type of stuff just baffles me completely. What's the attraction?

    • I want to display my expertise, start a conversation or just plain brag about how well-read I am? Wouldn't that just drive any (remaining) friends away?

      While I agree that bragging about how well-read you are will probably just piss folks off, there is nothing wrong with wanting to display your expertise. If you've worked hard to get to a certain point in your life, and you have developed a certain level of intimate knowledge on a particular subject, that would certainly be a lifetime achievement that you would probably be proud to show off from time to time.

      That's not to say that you should be a giant d-bag and start every sentence with, "Well, I am an

    • I confess that this type of stuff just baffles me completely. What's the attraction?

      for kids of scouting age, the same question applies, to some degree. maybe its human nature that wants to show that you paid dues, moved up and can now show it.

      do you have a college degree? do you show it/frame it? some people display theirs.

      lawyers can be 'esquire'. fancy fucking name. show-off. its a badge.

      humans like to show off. news at 11.

  • What about following the link to read those news from some other place, even owned by google, like the search engine itself, mail, google reader or even google+ ?

    Even if this have any kind of meaning (except the obvious promoting one of their experiments/projects/profit sources/whatever that is lowering the amount of visitors), they should be consistent and integrated along all their platform.

  • Youtube and Google+ badges? Maybe for a future Google Games? That'd make sense. But the cynic in me sees this as nothing but a glorified tracking cookie to build the ultimate user profile.
  • So now we're creating a achievements for reading tripe for the likes of news corp?
    • by aix tom (902140)

      So where can I pick up my "I survived 5 minutes of Fox News without my head exploding, although I did get a slight nose bleed" badge?

  • It looks to me as if this is a good way to bring forward information google already knows about you, but in doing so, making it as fun and potentially social as possible
  • Um is it just me or does it seem like they're applying the Starcraft 2 ladder's ranking system? Embarrassing
  • by theodp (442580) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @06:45PM (#36789202)

    ReaderAdvantage Program [wikipedia.org]: As a 2010 April Fools' Day joke, Google announced a reward program for Google Reader known as ReaderAdvantage [google.com], in which points accumulated by users for reading items could earn them Novice, Gold, Platinum, or Totally Sweet Badges, which Google revealed was a goof [google.com].

    • good find!

      so, the april fools joke in 2010 ended up being an announced product the year later.

      are we supposed to laugh? with them? or at them?

  • You just earned the Squirrel Sex Gold badge!

  • "If you don't read a newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read a newspaper, you are misinformed." Mark Twain
    • by Luyseyal (3154)

      And yet, Samuel Clemens both wrote for newspapers and read them regularly. There is value there. But, you have to dig for it and digging takes practice and insight.

      -l

      /Yeah, I read the paper. Online. For free. Bite me — it's way better for local news than the local TV stations.

  • This is back to front, we need an award system for the news providers
  • Well, thanks to the PhDs at Google

    These PhDs might as well hand in THEIR badges, and go work for the entertainment industry directly.

  • I'd much rather get useful new display options (say, a stream of all articles likely to be interesting), or options to hide boring news stories as they rise. (I ended up avoiding Google News the last two weeks as the Casey Anthony trial flooded the headlines. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a darn.) While I understand that it's easy to implement flair over UI/UX improvements, and that adding addicting achievements is good for site traffic, lets try to maintain the focus on bringing value to the user, ok?
  • Great, encourage users to willfully catalogue their reading habits and news sources for Google by making a game out of it.

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