Digg announced earlier today that the first public beta of their Google Reader replacement Digg Reader will launch next week. They're reporting that the new service will roll out to a few users at a time to allow the service to scale, but Digg did promise that Digg Reader will be available to everybody by 26 June.
Of course, we knew that Digg had planned to launch before the Readerpocalypse, so the only real news today were the hints that Digg dropped in their blog post.
Digg is still working on Digg Reader, and for now they plan to focus on the power user. that is probably a good thing, because over 18,00 hard-core users signed up to provide feedback on the new service. That is potentially quite a large angry mob, so it makes sense that our needs are met before we start googling for instructions on how to make torches and looking for pitchforks to buy on Etsy.
The first release of Digg Reader will support the web browser, and as you can see from the photo above Digg is going to go for a clean layout that bears more than faint resemblance to Feedly (or at least that is what I can see).
According to comments left by the developers, the Digg Reader iOS app is already done and it will be released in time for next week's launch. The Android app won't be available until later and I don't know yet what it will look like, but Digg has teased us with an angled shot of the iOS app:
- Easy migration and onboarding from Google Reader.
- A clean reading experience that gets out of the way and puts the focus squarely on the articles, posts, images, and videos themselves.
- Useful mobile apps that sync with the web experience.
- Support for key actions like subscribing, sharing, saving and organizing.
But that's just what is going to be available Wednesday. Digg also has a road map of features they plan to add in the 2 months after launch. In addition to working out the bugs and improving stability, they plan to make the service faster and add:
- Integration with additional third party services (like Buffer, Evernote, and IFTTT).
- Better tools to sort, filter and rank your reading lists and feeds, based on your networks, interests, likes, and so on.
The world is scheduled to end in two weeks, and Digg is clearly working to position Digg Reader as a refuge for hard-core news junkies like myself. Unfortunately for Digg, they are cutting the timing awfully close.
I doubt there are very many Google Reader junkies (besides me) that have yet to find a replacement dealer for their hourly news fix. The last few of us still using Google Reader 2 months after Google announced that it would be smothered are probably in denial over its imminent death.
I plan to wait for the last minute and then hold a wake (in the traditional sense of the word) for 3 days - just in case. And then I might face reality and switch to another service.