Digg, the once-mighty crowdsourced news aggregator that stumbled only to find new life as a curated collection of links, said today it would try to fill the void that'll be left once Google Reader disappears July 1 and leaves the world without a dominant RSS reader.
"We've heard people say that RSS is a thing of the past, and perhaps in its current incarnation it is, but as daily (hourly) users of Google Reader, we're convinced that it's a product worth saving," Digg's Andrew McLaughlin said in a blog post. "So we're going to give it our best shot. We've been planning to build a reader in the second half of 2013, one that, like Digg, makes the Internet a more approachable and digestible place. After Google's announcement, we're moving the project to the top of our priority list. We're going to build a reader, starting today."
McLaughlin said Digg would "rebuild the best of Google Reader's features," including its API, but update them for the modern era. That means taking signals from other social-networking services -- Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, and Hacker News are the ones he named -- and using them to surface interesting content to readers.
McLaughlin asked Digg readers to say what they'd like to see in the new product here.
Digg is just the latest aggregator offering to ride to the rescue as Reader, beloved by a small but vocal minority of information junkies, prepares to shut down.
Flipboard reminded users that they can save their Reader feeds using the app:
We've got your RSS covered! Save your Google Reader subscriptions on Flipboard now flip.it/9uXC6— Flipboard (@Flipboard) March 14, 2013
And the CEO of CNN-owned aggregator Zite made a similar plea:
For those of you bummed about Google Reader, consider downloading Zite.— Mark Johnson (@philosophygeek) March 13, 2013
Meanwhile, RSS reader Feedly said that in anticipation of Google Reader shutting down, it had cloned the Reader API -- meaning that anyone who logs in to the service before July 1 will be able to switch their Reader feeds over to Feedly seamlessly.
But where others are simply trying to make it easy to switch, Betaworks-owned Digg seems to have something bigger in mind. While it no longer commands the audience or influence it once did, the relaunched Digg has won praise for its clean design, savvy article selection, and smart integration of reader votes. As McLaughlin notes in his blog post, the company's core mission is to find interesting things on the Web. A modern-day reader with thoughtful social features could find a big audience.
We'll get a look soon enough. As the countdown clock on the Digg Reader page suggests, the team is working to make something available by the time Reader shuts down, just 108 days from now.