Digg Reader Is a Google Reader Lite, with a Familiar Digg Shell

Digg's Google Reader replacement-in-waiting doesn't won't hit the masses until next Wednesday, but there have now been enough first looks that we can safely can conclude that it will substitute your RSS needs just fine. With a few exceptions.

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Digg's Google Reader replacement-in-waiting doesn't won't hit the masses until next Wednesday, but the timely minds over at Betaworks have allowed enough sneak peeks that we can safely can conclude that, well, Digg Reader looks pretty standard both for an RSS aggregator and for a Betaworks project. Speaking of beta, this screenshot of the new feed favorite comes from one of a few early trials, via Wired's Mat Honan, and it looks pretty much like a Digg-Google baby. You can see the cues the news aggregator team at Digg/Betaworks have taken from Google's reader, which vanishes on July 1 — pretty much the same layout as Google Reader, but with pretty much the same design scheme of the Digg homepage.

Other than that, the functionality — a surprisingly hard thing to build out — sounds almost like the Google Reader experience. Here's how it breaks down:

What Digg Reader Has

  • "It has built-in sharing and saving features," says Honan, who doesn't really clarify beyond that. The old, old reader had social.
  • It has a Digg button. That's more of a thing for Digg than for average users. But if you see an interesting story, you can Digg it, which might push it to Digg.com.
  • There's an iOS app and Honan finds it "fantastic." It also looks almost identical to the Digg iPhone app, with its big photos and headlines taking up most of the real estate. 

  • It has read counts, for you people who don't fall behind on RSS feeds. 
  • It's an RSS feed that works with "data migration," writes The Verge's Adrianne Jeffries, who also got a look at Digg Reader.
  • Keyboard shortcuts — you know, to navigate without a mouse. 

What Digg Reader Doesn't Have — Yet

  • No Android app. Apparently, this is all Google's fault. "Android had been a persistent problem throughout the development cycle," writes Honan. 
  • No search. This is the one shining feature that would separate the Google Reader copycats from the Reader replacements, and Digg doesn't have it because, according to Honan, it's a "bitch" to implement. Though, the Betaworks dudes sound confident they'll get there: "Search still has to get added in," Digg CEO Andrew McLaughlin told Honan. "That's really just a matter of manpower on the backend. We know how to do search. We'll get it. That one is pretty expensive, you have to run a lot of operations and store a lot of data."
  • No Google Reader tags — ever. Because: Google won't let it happen. 

So yeah, Digg Reader like Google Reader lite dressed up in Digg threads, which isn't too shabby with just a few months' notice.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.