Google News
Google News badges is only available in the U.S. at present.

Following the successful launch of Google+, the tech giant has introduced a new feature called Google News badges to allow users to keep track of, and gain recognition for, the content they consume online.

The feature was unveiled in the U.S. edition of Google News on Thursday and allows users to earn over 500 different badges, covering various news topics as they read articles posted on the service.

"Keep track of what you're reading, read more of what you like, and share what you love with friends," says the video accompanying the launch.

Users start off with bronze, then move on to silver, before earning gold, platinum and, finally, "ultimate", as their volume of news reading grows. For example, if a user likes reading about politics, his or her badge level will increase with every story clicked on.

Users can also create customised sections within Google News, to tailor their individual reading.

"Your badges are private by default, but if you want, you can share your badges with your friends. Tell them about your news interests, display your expertise, start a conversation or just plain brag about how well-read you are," said the post written by Google engineer Natasha Mohanty.

Although badges are private, Google makes it possible for users to share those badges earned with friends by clicking the '+1' button. This video explains how it all works.

To try out the new feature users need to sign into their Google account (with web history enabled) and head to the feature's help page.