Google News Badges getting a bad rap- everyone’s missing the point

July 20, 2011

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.

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Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.


  1. Exactly! The bigger implications are enormous. The badges are a way to possibly give +1s more weight. However "pointless" or "childish" everyone claims these badges are, they do ultimately give the user a chance to gain some ounce of credibility in a particular field. I really don't understand why this idea has offended so many tech bloggers. Beats me. Glad to see yet another article that tries to look at the larger picture.

    I wrote a pretty similar article over at my blog:

    The unfortunate side is this really just seems like a half-hearted effort by Google and with the recent closure of Google Health and Google Labs, I can only wonder how long these might last.

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