When I was a little kid in school, the teacher used to dole out little star stickers for good behavior, getting all the questions right on your homework, and so on.
As of yesterday, Google is giving out badges for reading the news:
As best I can tell from the Google blurb, instead of being a Foursquare “Mayor” I can get colored badges for reading categories of news. More news in a category means a better color: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, with an eventual rise to “Ultimate.”
I’m really not sure what to think of this. Is reading a lot of news articles like “eating your peas” as the President wants the Republicans to do? Maybe Google is on to something here. Colored badges for the GOPers that play nice on the debt ceiling debate!
Google is on an imitation roll lately. Google+ seems to be attempting to combine Facebook (Stream), Twitter (Following and Inbox), Skype (Hangout), and pick your own flavor of photo sharing (Photos) and instant messaging (Huddle), with its own RSS/news feed thrown in (Sparks).
Google is getting a bit of media flack for its imitation; but, it’s also getting a bit of praise for the slick and often improved way it does what its competitors have been doing.
Ford wasn’t the first car company; but, it invented the assembly line. Microsoft stole Windows and made it ubiquitous. My Space came before Facebook, which pretty much drove it out of business. Remember Dogpile and Alta Vista and Google’s other early competitors? (Interestingly, they are both still around – Dogpile.com and Altavista.com – the latter looks like an early, stripped down Google.com.)
The interesting thing about Google+ is its shopping mall versus boutique approach to the internet. In a way, it’s a throw back to the early Yahoo and AOL – come here (and stay) for all of your World Wide Web needs!
I signed up for Google+ the other day, as those of you that got here from my Stream know. So far, it’s Facebook with a much better interface but only a couple of “friends.” (Be an early adopter, hang out at the mall with me, sign up so I’m not lonely!) I can say that Sergey Brin is boring and the Mark Zuckerberg has nothing to say, literally, nothing.
Until you get here, maybe I’ll spend my time getting some nice shiny, colored badges.