What’s the Big Deal About Digg Reader, Anyway?

Suddenly, Betawork’s made Digg Reader and RSS feeds cool again.

The announcement of NYC startup Betaworks, creating Digg Reader as a replacement for the soon-to-be retired Google Reader has spawned a small renaissance of RSS – or at least the conversations surrounding it.

So in the spirit of resurrecting decaying remains of once awesome web relics into some sort of Internet phoenix, Betaworks is on track to reincarnate Google Reader as Digg Reader. 
You see, when Google announced it was killing Reader back in March there were two responses, “OH NOES!” and “What’s a Google Reader?” For many, RSS is a crucial tool.  Known as Rich Site Summary (later Real Simple Syndication) is a web feed format that was developed 14 years ago when people realized that information was being posted on their favorite sites faster then they could keep up.

RSS is like the plumbing of content sharing. You use it even if you don’t realize it and even though Google Reader will be dead come July 1st, RSS will live on. Because you can’t stop websites from publishing to it or people from reading them – it’s just that useful and simple. However, RSS may live on, Google’s closure of Reader won’t just abandon users, but other services that subscribed to its API – like NetNewsWire. So that’s a bit of a pain… not sure if it’ll ever be as cool as Digg Reader.

Digg Reader Mobile App

Digg Reader Sneak Peak

The other part of the conversation revolved around the heir apparent to Google Reader, Digg Reader. Betaworks team of five set out to create a working RSS reader with data migration, keyboard shortcuts, sharing functionality, tools to allow users to elevate popular content and an iPhone app in less than 90 days. The rolling launch is set to begin only a few days before July 1st, with a release to the first 17,000 people who filled out a survey on RSS usage that Betaworks posted.

While many are evangelizing Digg Reader before they even try it, it’s important to know they’re doing this because of Betawork’s solid track record of creating really great products such as Bit.ly, news.me, the incredibly addictive iOS game Dots and of course, Digg – The once popular social news website of 2008 that eventually collapsed under the weight of it’s own spam. Betaworks bought Digg’s remains for $500,000 and reinvigorated it with a visually driven editorial format and better integration with social platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

So in the spirit of resurrecting decaying remains of once awesome web relics into some sort of Internet phoenix, Betaworks is on track to reincarnate Google Reader as Digg Reader.

Digg Reader

Digg Reader Sneak Peak

It’s not that there aren’t other RSS readers out there, for example Feedly is one of them and there are many more. What made Google Reader great wasn’t its longevity, it only popped up in 2005, but it was its earlier features. Arguably, Google Reader was one of Google’s first and most successful social networks. Many of the social features were stripped in 2011 favour of +1 sharing to Google+, a social site that adopted much of Google Reader’s terminology, including “Circles”. The downside to Google Reader’s integration into Google+ was the same as Facebook’s newsfeed as a reliable source of information – if you didn’t keep up with your feed, then content will disappear.

Digg Reader appears to have all the benefits of Google Reader from its hay day plus new more up-to-date features that make it relevant. So why do people care? Because we’re in the information age and if you can’t keep up, you miss out. Digg Reader will keep you in the now, while making it social. As it rolls out and new features get added, Digg Reader is poised to be faster, better, social and better designed then we could hope for.

So does it now make RSS, Rank Shared Syndication?


The moment I realized I had forced all my friends to watch AfroSquad, I knew that talking about Internet culture was where I was meant to be. Between reddit, Nat&Marie and eating junk food, there's just enough time for my personal blog Karmacake.com. That is all. That is it. Oh. Instagram: Karmacake


  1. flashpunk

    June 25, 2013 at 9:01 am

    I’ve been enjoying using Feedly for the last 3 weeks or so, though there seems to be some syncing issues, and it keeps asking me to back up my google feeds. I have never gotten off the Digg bandwagon, I use their news app or just plain digg.com on a daily basis. I’m excited to see what they come up with for the new reader.

    • Marie

      June 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      Same. I’ve been using Feedly as well… but I’m really looking forward to Digg Reader. I hear the next update of the system should have search functionality and I’m all over that.

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