Digg is the latest company to offer up an RSS reader replacement for the now defunct Google Reader.
The Digg development team took a different approach to building their reader compared to the rest. They called on their large community of users to help shape the reader.
And community feedback demanded a reader that was simple, fast, and as close to Google Reader in design and usability as possible. And that is what we have.
There are no bells and whistles. There are limited options. If you loved Google Reader, or are a Digg user, this might be the best choice for you.
Can You Digg It?
Simplicity was a major goal of the user experience. And that is evident throughout Digg Reader, starting from the moment you sign up. Your only options are to import from Google Reader or to sign on with your current Digg account.
If you don’t have a Digg account it will be created for you when you import from Google Reader. The import process is fast. It synced my feeds in a few seconds.
Look and Feel
Well, this is going to be short and sweet. You have a gray sidebar on the left with your feeds grouped in folders. On the right is the content area.
Do you want to change the view? You’re the only option is to toggle between “List” and “Expanded” views. The “View Button” is found in the top right.
List view displays article headings in the content area, and the expanded view will display the articles in full.
There are no other options to change the way Digg Reader looks. You’re stuck with one theme and two views.
There is currently no option to hide feeds you have read, or sort the folders or feeds. But these features are coming soon.
Adding New Feeds
At the time of writing, Digg Reader only allows you to import a feed from Google Reader. But they have promised to add the ability to import OPML files in a future update.
To add a new feed click on the “Add” button in the bottom left corner. You can type in a feed URL in the search box, or search for a feed by name or subject.
You can also select “Browse Categories” to select a feed from a variety of sources.
Just click on the category heading and browse through the suggested feeds. To add a feed click on the “Add” button to the right of the feed.
Saving, Sharing, Digging, and other Features
Although bare-bones, there are a few little handy features included for sharing and saving your favorite articles.
To the right of the article title, in either list or expanded view, is a small toolbar for saving, sharing, and digging.
If you’re a Digg user click the “Thumbs Up” icon to digg an article. You can view all of your Diggs by clicking on the “Diggs” view in the sidebar.
Save articles by clicking on the “bookmark icon”. Again, you can view all of your saved articles from the “Saved” view in the sidebar.
Clicking on the next icon opens a drop-down menu letting you share the article through Twitter or Facebook.
The last icon allows you to save the article to your favorite “read later service”. Digg currently supports saving to Instantpaper, Pocket, and Readability.
To link your social media and read later services with Digg Reader click on the “Settings” button in the top-right corner, and select “Settings”.
Scroll down to “Read Later” and “Accounts” to link these services.
If you love using keyboard shortcuts you’re in luck. Digg has stuck with the same keyboard shortcuts that Google Reader had, so you can do everything without touching your mouse.
Digg has a large and active community which actively “diggs” and promotes stories from various sources. Since a crowd of savvy users curate the content by means of voting it up, Digg has an additional advantage. It fills you in about stories that are popular on the web. If you are reading a story in your subscriptions which is trending on the main site, you will see 1-3 small dots indicating the popularity of the story. It gives a social aspect to this reader.
Digg Reader was built very quickly with feedback from it’s community. It’s still in beta and new features will be added. But the main goal was to provide a simple and fast RSS reader. And they have.
Digg Reader is the closest you will get to Google Reader in look, feel, and functionality. If you loved Google Reader you will love Digg Reader.