As you become more well-read, you’ll get a star added to the badge for that topic. There are five different levels of the stars, starting with a bronze star, and as you read more articles you receive a silver, gold, platinum and the coveted blue ultimate star.
Goofy? Maybe, but as you can see in the video, there is a method to this madness. According to the Google Blog, you can keep all this badge mania to yourself by default, or you can brag about it to others, showing off what an newshound you are, and perhaps stimulating social interaction between you and others with like interests around the Google+ sphere.
The badges are interactive, too — if you hover over one and click “add section,” you’ll get more article choices for your chosen topic. Beta-happy Google says that’s not all, calling this a “bronze release,” and adding that “once we see how badges are used and shared, we look forward to taking this feature to the next level.”
To use the new feature, Google News Help shows you how. To make it all work, you must have your web history enabled, and it registers both desktop and mobile clicks.
We can see how it might be helpful for your Google News page to keep track of which types of articles you’re reading, making it easier for you to further customize your personal Google News site. We have badges here at Mashable for using our Follow social layer, and we like them.
What about on Google News, though? Does this matter? Is it important to show yourself how much you’ve read, or have proof of same to lord over others? Or is this just a non-compensated loyalty program that benefits Google the most?