Digg Reader: Simple and Social

This looks familiar...

This looks familiar…

Digg is back with it’s Google Reader replacement, Digg Reader. Saying Digg is back seems weird though. It seems Digg has always been around. When I was in college I’d waste time on Digg much like I imagine students must waste time on reddit now. In fact, the sites work much in the same way. You go and look at stories around an interest, and either vote them up or down based on how relative they are. Digg was the go-to for well written stories and posts, the crowd kept content good, for awhile anyway.

But alas, as these things go, Digg suffered from some UI changes users didn’t like. It became popular enough that people moved to reddit, leaving Digg a shell of what it once was. There were still users of course, lots of them, but the feeling had changed and the web moved on.

The Announcement

Then, in March of this year, Google announced it would be shutting down Google Reader. The web grew angry. There were alternatives sure, but Google Reader was what we had all come to know and love. The very next day, Digg announced it would be making Digg Reader. And the little nostalgic voice in me rejoiced! This could be the return of Digg.

I have to admit, I was skeptical. They were going to have Digg Reader up by July? I moved to NewsBlur. And while it was a little rough initially (the site was overwhelmed with traffic), it improved greatly and swiftly as they adjusted to their sudden fame. The excitement over Digg Reader faded, and eventually I forgot about it (my new app attention span is short these days). Until I got the email that Digg Reader was available to me.

Checking It Out

The Digg Reader iOS app.

The Digg Reader iOS app.

I wasn’t sure I was going to want to move to Digg Reader. Afterall, I had finally gotten comfortable with NewsBlur. But as I imported my Google Reader feed (do I really have to clean this up again?!?) into Digg Reader, I saw something familiar. It looks an awful lot like Google Reader did. That’s a big plus in my book. While I like NewsBlur, it was a bit overwhelming to me. It has lots of features I don’t need.

The Good

Digg is doing some things very well with this new reader. There’s no unread count by default, which I love, because that number is pressure to me. You can turn it on easily in the settings if you like to have it. You can share posts easily to Facebook and Twitter. You can save them to read later with Readability, Pocket, or Instapaper. You can “Digg” them. It’s all easy to do from your reader. And oh yeah, there are no ads.

The Not So Good

For it’s simplicity, there are some things Digg Reader doesn’t have. I can’t view just my unread items. I can’t keep things as unread. I can’t search. Social share is limited to Facebook and Twitter. There’s no Android app. These are all things Digg as addressed on their blog and will be implementing soon.

And for some reason, while the iOS app is awesome and easy to use, I can’t connect my Readability account in the iOS app like I can the desktop site. There’s also the potential for Digg to be awesomely social within itself, but it just hasn’t been tapped yet.

Is Digg Reader Your Google Reader Replacement?

Yes, yes it is. It has most of the features I wanted in Google Reader, plus some I wish Google Reader had. It’s easy to use and has a non cluttered interface. I can easily discover stories outside of the blogs I typically read. This is the replacement all be using.

8 Responses to “Digg Reader: Simple and Social”
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