Similar to the rewards found in many video games, badges are earned by reading articles through Google News. If you’re logged into your Google account and have your web history enabled your visits will be logged and applied towards badges related to the types of articles you’re viewing.
If you’re reading articles about politics, for example, you’ll earn points towards your Politics badge, which will level up as you read more. The badges start at Bronze and then progress through Silver, Gold and Platinum before finally reaching Ultimate. There are over 500 badges available, and they cover both broad topics (such as entertainment) and more specific sub-topics (such as Harry Potter).
The default settings keep badges private for obvious reasons, but users can share them with friends across social networks to show off their web-reading skills. They can also be clicked on to find articles relevant to its topic.
Although badges are shown on the Google News page, they’re not particularly transparent. Google has stated that “Badges will level up faster if you read a few relevant articles every day, rather than trying to read everything at once” but doesn’t provide details. There’s also no method to determine the requirements for each badge. Hopefully these issues will be rectified, as they could hinder this new feature’s adoption.
Source: Google News Blog