Digg today responded to early user feedback about its plans for a Google Reader replacement announced earlier this month, saying that it has narrowed down incoming requests to four key points: keep it simple, make it fast, synchronize across devices, and, finally, allow for easy import from Google Reader, of course. However, the company also hinted at its plans to go beyond just a Reader clone, saying that in future versions, it wants to design a tool that can pull in news and content from other sources, including social media sites, Reddit, Hacker News, and elsewhere.
The Google Reader shutdown has been a boon to several startups, which have gained an influx of new users to their various RSS feed-reading services. Feedly, for example, became the top RSS reader on mobile last week, but it’s too soon to count out competitors like NewsBlur, TheOldReader, Reeder, NetNewsWire and others from gaining traction in the weeks ahead.
Digg meanwhile, now incubated and being rebuilt by Betaworks, is an interesting one to watch in this space, as team members there describe themselves as “rabid information addicts” who also have relied on Google Reader in the past. But Digg’s involvement is appealing to Google Reader’s heaviest users, because the redesigned Digg.com offers a clean, minimalistic user interface, which is what many want to see in their news reader replacement – that is, they want more of a utility and less of a “news magazine”-styled design.
While it’s good to hear that Digg is listening to what this core crowd wants (some 800 comments were left on the company’s original post, the company says) even more interesting perhaps is what Digg may do with the reader replacement in the future.
In a blog post today, the team hints at these further plans, saying:
Google did a lot of things right with its Reader, but based on what we’re hearing from users, there is room for meaningful improvement. We want to build a product that’s clean and flexible, that bends easily and intuitively to the needs of different users.
We want to experiment with and add value to the sources of information that are increasingly important, but difficult to surface and organize in most reader applications — like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, or Hacker News. We likely won’t get everything we want into v1, but we believe it’s worth exploring.
Digg is also asking for users to be patient, given the company only has a few months to ship the initial product. That being said, Digg claims that they’re confident they’ll be able to at least achieve the four main goals in the first version, while other features may come in later releases.