Digg has just released the early results of last week’s survey.
This social reading start-up is working on their own replacement to Google Reader, and one step Digg made in that direction was to ask current Google Reader users what we liked. Over 17 thousand users have already filled out the survey, and Digg has noticed that the average Google Reader user spends a lot of time in the service.
For example, over 60% of users report that they subscribe to 50 or more RSS feeds in Google Reader, with nearly 20% subscribing to more than 250 RSS feeds. The survey has also shown that 80% of users check Google Reader many times a day, and that we are using it both for work and for personal reading.
Search doesn’t seem to be used all that much, and since it is “a huge investment in terms of development time and infrastructure costs” it’s been moved down the list. Digg has also noted that keyboard shortcuts were used at least sometimes by 67% of respondents. So far none of this surprises me because it matches with how I use Google Reader. And the rest of the survey is not too surprising, either.
Take the word cloud at the top of this post, for example. The final question asked users for suggestions as to what could be removed from Google Reader to improve it. As you can see, the leading answer is “nothing”. Other questions asked which alternative feed readers we used, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear winner among the possible Google Reader replacements.
That’s good news for Digg, but it is also good news for the rest of us as well. As the many possible replacements vie for the throne, the competition will force them to improve their service, offer more features, and try to be better. That means we are going to see more innovation in this niche over then next few months than we have seen in the past 5 years.