As you may know, Betaworks, the company behind the pretty popular News.me mobile applications, has recently announced that they’ve purchased the rights to the Digg name and domain. The company didn’t say they got anything else – the extremely talented team, the old tech, just the name, really. This was perhaps a little over a month ago. Fast forward to today – the launch of a new Digg.
Digg v1 as Betaworks is calling it is an entirely new Digg experience. It’s a radical redesign of the beloved site, built from the ground up, with a new codebase, a new dedicated staff, and an entirely new and “modern” codebase. Nothing has been carried across but the name – even the entire userbase has been deleted and reset from scratch. So what makes this new, more adventorous Digg so different from the last incarnation, Digg v4?
Read our thoughts on the new Digg v1 after the break.
First let’s focus on the design. New Digg v1 features a radical new design with a heavy emphasis on images. Almost every story on the Digg homepage will have a giant image representation of the photo prominently displayed above the headline, with a quick summary, the amount of Diggs, and a Digg button under that. There are no comments. There’s no “Digg bar”. Just large images, a headline, a summary, a couple of Digg buttons, and a link directly to the content. This results in an incredibly modern, sleek, and simple design that lends itself to what Digg should have always been in the first place – a portal for user curated news.
There are some cons though – the bottom part of the front page is dominated by unwieldly and unorganized rows of news with messy charts, a mishmash of summaries, user avatars, and embedded tweets. It looks like a bomb went off, to put it lightly.
Also a huge negative is that users need to have a Facebook account and login with that before they can register to use Digg. The team says that this is acting as a form of spam control that’ll assure a higher level of quality than ever before, but it seems a little arbitrary. Why can’t we login with Twitter? Google? Disqus? There are still plenty of people who don’t, and won’t, have a Facebook accouunt that won’t be able to use Digg, and that’s frankly a disappointment.
Digg v1 is a great first step towards a new Digg, but I can’t help but feel as though it needs a bit more refinement before it can go head to head against the likes of Reddit. I find myself missing the old Digg design a bit, but I suppose I’ll just get used to this new one before long. But no matter what I, or anybody else, says about Digg, only time can tell if it’s enough to bring Digg back from the land of the dead.