Services such as Foursquare have already proven that it doesn’t take anything more than an artificial feeling of accomplishment to make us happy. Now, Google Badges has taken this “achievement” system, and made it into a reward mechanism for frequent news readers.
Basically, Google Badges tracks the type of news stories that you read on Google News. When you read certain types of articles on a regular basis, you can earn a badge. If you read enough of these articles, your badge will “level up”, with a graduated star system. Kind of reminds me of kindergarten.
However, Google Badges is actually an interesting concept, since it gives you a more specialized way to personalize the type of content you see on your Google News homepage. Eventually, you can custom-build your homepage so that you always see news stories about topics that matter most to you.