Last week, after a month of testing with a select group of beta users, the new Digg went live to everyone . Based on the launch it looks like they should have kept the site in private beta a bit longer. There was quite a bit of hype around this launch and as soon as users found out it was live they rushed to Digg.com to check it out. Ironically this influx of visitors caused Digg to suffer the Digg Effect and crash... frequently. Luckily they had a fun (at first) Oregon Trail error page to keep us entertained.
Being a developer myself I have to look past the errors on launch day, since we've all had product releases that didn't go exactly as planned. Even though a week later I'm still getting the occasional error (I'm looking at the "broken axle" screen now as I opened the site to take a screen shot), I'll leave that out of my review. They seemed to have rushed this product out the door and I'm sure they have their reasons for it.
Although the entire Digg community seems to hate the design - calling it a Facebook ripoff - I kind of like it. Whenever a site changes its design their users revolt. We all remember the Facebook redesigns that caused "Bring back the old Facebook" groups of 1M+ users, and the News Feed that Mark Zuckerberg actually had to apologize for. Personally, for each of those Facebook releases, I was very excited and immediately saw the value they added to the Facebook experience. The News Feed is what keeps people coming back to Facebook daily, hourly, or even every couple of minutes, and this is what makes Facebook the monster that it is today. Digg's "My News" will do the same for them, once users get used to the change and stop bitching. I have actually found it pretty useful and have discovered stories, photos and videos I wouldn't have before.
Digg has released come cool features in Digg 4, and I'm sure there are more to come. My favorite one is the "Import Feeds" which allows you to submit your RSS feed to Digg and have your content automatically submitted as you post it. Again, the Digg community hates this because they feel that Digg is about discovering news, but I feel this just makes discovering that news easier. Instead of going to a number of different sites everyday, or hoping interesting stories get enough Diggs to make the front page, I can now browse all content from sites that I like and choose to follow.
I also like the ability to follow individual users and have their submissions fed to the "My News" page. I'm always interested to see what my friends are reading and this makes following them much easier. I think the social aspect is one thing Digg was always missing and fell they really brought that to the site nicely with this release.
They also got rid of the Digg Toolbar, which makes me very happy. That toolbar was useless, broke some sites, and was just an overall awful idea. I'm very glad to see it gone!
Like everything else in the world Digg 4 is not perfect. There are a few things they seem to be missing and I'm sure they're working on them as I write this. They already made it so you could set "Top News" to your default page when visiting the site and have more updates on the way.
In case you're listening Digg, here's what I would like to see:
- Sub-categories brought back
- Upcoming stories
- A more stable site
- The bury button brought back
Overall I think the new Digg is going in a great direction and I can't wait to see where it's at in a couple of months. I think once all the bugs are out and the users accept it the new Digg will be a huge success.
What do you think of the new Digg? Is there anything you would like to see added or removed? Let me know in the comments.