Google Reader being shut down by its malevolent overlords leaves a gaping, Google Reader-sized hole in the market where it used to be. Many are stepping up today to announce that their products or services can act as a replacement, but one source is specifically saying it will build a functionally complete replacement – news aggregation service Digg.
Digg just announced on its official blog that it was previously planning on building a reader in the second half of 2013. But now the company (which was acquired by Betaworks last year) says it's now moving up its plans to build a Reader replacement, which will include an API that mirrors Google's own for Reader.
The company says it wants to take the best of Google Reader's features and simply replicate them, while also modernizing the usage for the current climate. In order to help guide its product development strategy, Digg is asking for feedback for users, but Digg clearly wants to simple in order to make sure what it builds is very close to what users were mourning with the passing of Google Reader. Digg is also looking for new employees to help it with this undertaking.
Digg's move is pretty clever: there's a proven demand, as the last 24 hours or so have demonstrated, and there's a model for how a successful product will work. Google's killing of Reader only means it failed as a product according to Google's own goals, so it could be a tremendous success for another company with different ends in mind.
Digg General Manager Jake Levine had the following to say about how what the company has seen with Reader's success aligns with its own goals via email:
Digg is about helping people find, read and share the most interesting stories on the Internet. We help to distill the overwhelming volume of stories on the web into a manageable and digestible experience. Building a reader matches these goals perfectly. Plus, our team uses it every day and we need a good replacement!
Others, like Feedly, have explained that they, too will be providing an alternative to users currently on Google Reader. Their project Normandy will be a complete clone of the Reader API, which means a seamless transition for users. There will in fact probably be considerable competition in this space, which is why Digg is smart to note that it is also looking to improve upon the basic Google Reader design with additional features based on user input.