Digg.com has just launched a brand new feature called the DiggBar, which as mentioned in a previous post, lets users make use of Digg's voting and community while viewing a source article via a Digg URL. According to a post on the official Digg blog, users will also soon be able to create their own shortened URLs right through Digg and third-party microblogging services like Twhirl.
What's neat about the DiggBar is that it accomplishes most of what traditional software toolbars are able to do. You can see and interact with user comments, view related stories, and see other stories that were dugg from the same news source. All the while, the user experience follows you and lets you hop back to Digg. This is also good for publishers because it keeps users on their site while they're doing these activities, which previously would have taken place back at Digg.com.
It also lets everyone in on how much traffic Digg is driving by showing how many views a story has gotten, which in most cases surpasses the number of diggs the story got. This was information that previously only Digg and the publishers were privy to.
Where Digg may get some heat for the DiggBar is with its inclusion of a "random" button that takes users to a random story on Digg. StumbleUpon, which pioneered this concept, has had the same thing for years, and more recently as part of its own software-free pervasive toolbar. Will Digg fans get on the company about this? Probably not, but it's worth noting that hopping to a random story has never been something you could do from Digg's own site, and as of now is only available on the DiggBar.
Two things that appear to be missing from today's release--and have been long promised, are support for Facebook Connect log-ins, and an improved search tool. Digg was announced as a Facebook Connect launch partner back in July of last year, and it's still not a part of the site. Jay Adelson has recently gone on the record with Wired and on his own Facebook page about an updated version of Digg's site search.
Here's Digg's demo of how it works:
DiggBar from Kevin Rose on Vimeo.
Update: This should now be live for all users. It looks like the shortened links were only showing up for a small portion before getting pushed out to everyone at around 4:30 PST. Also, to make a DiggURL link out of any site you can simply put a "Digg.com/" before any URL and it will be shortened for you. There's also a bookmarklet, which can be found on Digg's explanatory page.