Google News Badges
The video above demonstrates how Google Badges works as a means to not only reward Google users for sticking with their products (Google Reader), but also to offer a means of organizing and prioritizing content for users. If a user desires, the badges can be shown publicly to show their Google social sphere what topics they really have an interest in, rather than just what they indicate on their profile (like on Facebook where users determine interests).
Responses from the tech world are fairly pessimistic. ZDNet’s headline read, “Google News badges: Yawn, what’s next?” while TechCrunch’s headline read, “Google News Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Google News Badges.”
Tech columnists weigh in
Those two headlines summed up most of the tech columnists’ sentiments, but are there practical applications aside from potentially organizing categories?
PCWorld says, “Second, companies and freelancers sharing content to draw attention to their product or service will have to, or should, gain a high level badge in their appropriate topics, which will demonstrate credibility. If badges catch on, it’s going to become increasingly easy to spot spammers simply looking to promote a brand without any knowledge of it. Authentic businesses (and individuals behind them) will get a credibility boost by displaying their high-level badges.”
We agree with that sentiment. But what no one is saying is that Google is releasing suites of new products and this, like Google Plus and Google News Badges is that Google is finding legitimate ways to index all web use and put ads on it.
The takeaway: bigger implications
If Google knows your web surfing habits and you tell it “+1” to thinks you really like, and it knows your news reading habits and you affirm that by making your badges public, and it knows who your friends are via your Gmail account and Google Plus account, plus it knows your demographics based on your Google Plus account, it suddenly becomes a more golden marketing opportunity than Facebook’s fantastic ad platform.
Google isn’t playing around, it’s all about the ad dollars and they’ve spent years experimenting and watching others, and now they’re making their big play.