Google's latest concoction 'Google News Badges' could be making strides toward a revolutionary way of reading, gaming, and social networking.  By connecting Google News with Google+ through the user profile, the tech giant has turned reading news into a gaming experience. 

The 'gamification' of transforming everyday practices into a competitive activity could be Google's innovative way of stepping into the games market.  It was clear that with the launch of Google+, Google will need to find a way to compete with Facebook's lineup of Zynga games.  Though this new idea may not be a video game, it is an interesting approach for encouraging gaming within readers. 

Educators have long been trying to embrace games and integrating them with reading.  With more games being developed for mobile devices, reading has became secondary for many tablet users compared to gaming usage. 

According to a survey of 1,400 tablet users conducted by Admob, 84% of them use the tablet to play games.  That surpassed the 61% of owners who use their tablet to read news and 46% who read eBooks.  It also found that 59% of tablet owners spend more time on their tablet than reading a book or newspaper.

Some would consider gamers and readers as two separate groups.  Google may have launched something that could tie both together and potentially boost higher percentages for online reading.   Google awards its 500 badges to avid readers and allows them to proudly display their digital icons to other users online.  The badge level starts from bronze and readers can level up to silver, gold, and ultimate based on how many articles are read on a certain topic of interest.

The more you read, the higher level badge you'll receive, starting with Bronze, then moving up the ladder to Silver, Gold, Platinum and finally, Ultimate...Tell them about your news interests, display your expertise, start a conversation, or just plain brag about how well-read you are...You can also add custom sections by hovering on a badge and clicking 'add section' to read more about your favorite topics, wrote Google on its official blog post. 

Google set the badges feature on private by default so that users can choose to share or not to share what they've read publicly.  Those who choose to share can proudly showcase the volume of articles that were read online.  Fun could also be had by building up rankings in competing with friends or just keeping track of personal reading achievements. No confirmations yet on what else readers can earn other than badges for upgrading their reading levels. 

The impact of Google's new badges on reading and gaming could offer positive results in all areas.  Higher encouragement of reading based on a reward system and innovation of integrating games with daily activities could counter recent news regarding Google's negative effects on human memory.  Scientists performed studies that showed the human brain increasing reliance on search engines such as Google.  The result has decreased our ability to know where information could be found since more attention is now on knowing the information itself.   Could Google's reading and gaming concept be sustained in their latest badges feature? 

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