Digg relaunched today. How ‘bout that. There’s not much to say, except that it looks and works a little different thanks to Betaworks, the company that acquired Digg in early July for US$500 000 (give or take a few million in equity). Oh and there’s also a new iPhone app.
We could have ended the article here, the smell of apathy lingering, but to tell you the truth, we’re glad to see the original social news curation site being given a new lease on life, just one day after it was previewed to the public.
Six weeks after it was rebuilt from scratch, Digg v1 emerges with a clean, Pinterest-like, magazine layout. It really is a complete reboot, there’s little trace of Digg v4, Digg’s pre-Betaworks incarnation, to be found.
The top stories on Digg v1 reflect stories buzzing around the Web on sites like Facebook and Twitter and comes courtesy of Betaworks’ own algorithms. Users can still submit, “digg” and vote on stories as long as they log in with their Facebook accounts. This caused some outrage, but Betaworks assured Digg’s users that it’s only an interim solution while the team works on better spam-filtering technology. Three flesh-and-bone editors also do some manual curation of stories that are bubbling up on the Digg home page and in the mobile apps.
Users can’t yet comment on links, but Betaworks advises users to keep in mind that it’s only version one of the site and subsequent versions will bring new additions over the summer and fall.
In the coming weeks and months Digg will:
Introduce network-based personalization features (like News.me, another Betaworks product) to make Digg a more relevant and social experience
Experiment with new commenting features
Continue to iterate Digg for mobile web
Move the website forward with features like the Reading List, different views into the top stories on Digg, and more data to help users better understand why a particular story is trending
Launch an API so that members of the development community can build all the products that we haven’t even thought of yet.
John Borthwick, the founder of Betaworks told the New York Times that the new Digg is all about “trying to get at is what the Internet is talking about right now.”
Digg v1 looks beautiful and it’s already been a time-suck for our team here today, but it has its work cut out for it to battle competition from Twitter and Facebook (which allow for sharing of links through social graphs), its arch nemesis, Reddit. Not least of all, Digg needs to win back mindshare.