Two of our most requested features for Digg Reader are now available!

View Only Unread

Simply click All Items in the top right corner, then select Unread Only, to — you guessed it — view only those items that you have not yet read. By early next week, this will include folders as well as feed items. 

Mark As Unread

At the bottom of every article, you’ll find a new action that allows you to mark that item as unread. You can also use the keyboard shortcut, m.

Both features will be available in the next version of the iPhone and iPad apps. We’re working hard to get the features you need out the door. Stay tuned for regular updates!

Mike

We’re happy to share that you can now import your Google Takeout file into Digg Reader.

Visit digg.com/reader to get started, or if you’ve already created a Digg Reader account, visit digg.com/settings. For detailed instructions, visit the FAQ.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback. Check out our ideas page, and let us know!

Digg

Farewell, Google Reader. You made the Internet a better place.

We just want to say one last thank you to the team who made it possible, and whose design and engineering innovations continue to inspire.

Last week we were crawling about 100,000 feeds, in an attempt to get somewhat ahead of the deluge of new users. At about 6:30pm EST this evening, we crossed 7.7 million feeds. It’s a tremendous scaling challenge, but so far so good: Digg Reader remains speedy and stable.

We expect to have a busy few days as Google Reader officially closes its doors, but we’ve already identified the key features to come in the next week:

  • Unread counts for feeds and folders (coming tomorrow!)

  • Mark as unread button

  • A toggle to view only unread items/folders

We’ll provide an update soon. In the meantime, if you have a feature idea, please head over to our ideas page and let us know about it! 

Digg

After a week of testing and scaling, adding batches of users and improving our infrastructure, we’re happy to fully open Digg Reader to the public! 

To give you a sense of scale, last night we were crawling over 3.3 million feeds. We’re now up to 4.5 million. That’s a lot of data – and it’s growing quickly – but (at the risk of tempting the cruel and unforgiving Fates), the site has remained speedy and stable.

We’ve spent a ton of time this week talking with early users and have identified a few urgent feature needs that we aim to add quickly:

  • “View Unread Items Only” option for feeds and folders

  • “Mark As Unread” button

  • Accurate unread counts for feeds and folders

To try out Digg Reader, please visit digg.com/reader.

Oh, and don’t forget to download the iOS app! (Android coming in the next few weeks)

Thanks for your patience!  As always, we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback.

Digg

Update to the update (11:45a EST): A quick update, since a bunch of people are asking:

  • Unread counts should be working shortly
  • View Only Unread and Mark As Unread are far and away our most requested features. The team is already working hard on them and you can expect to see it live next week!

Questions or feedback: get in touch at reader@digg.com!

—-

Quick update: The Digg Reader iOS app is live in the Apple App Store and available for anyone to use, and everyone who signed up for early web access has received their invitation. Our backend infrastructure has been scaling up nicely, and the experience remains speedy. (We’re now crawling over 3.3 million feeds, up from, well, zero at the beginning of the week!)

We’re working as fast as we can to get everything ready for the full web release. Thanks for your patience!  As always, we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback.

Mike

Just moments ago we sent out the first batch of invites to the survey participants who powered our development process. Over the next few hours, we’ll open Digg Reader to the rest of the users who have signed up for early access. Our goal is to make sure the experience remains speedy and stable.  

If you want to jump into the queue, you can sign up here: digg.com/reader. As we scale up over the next day or so, we’ll be adding users in increasingly larger batches.

This beta version is aimed first and foremost at Google Reader users looking for a new home in advance of its imminent shutdown. Once you connect your Google Account, you’ll find all of your feeds and folders set up and ready to go.  And even if you’re not a Google Reader refugee, come on in!  You can build up your list of sources by browsing recommended publishers or searching for feeds via the “Add” button.

Once you’re in, you’ll be able to:

  • Speedily migrate your feeds and folders from Google Reader
  • Use keyboard shortcuts, just like in Google Reader: j and k to move between articles, s to save, d to digg, and v to view URL
  • Read using either List or Expanded View
  • Jump to a view of your most popular unread items (as calculated by the rapidly-evolving algorithms of our data scientist) by clicking Popular
  • Save to Instapaper, Pocket, or Readability
  • Share to Twitter and Facebook
  • Digg posts you like, Save posts for later, and set those actions as either private or public
  • Share your Diggs or Saved feed (if public) with friends by grabbing its unique URL in Settings
  • Browse through 25 categories of publishers and sources recommended by Digg’s editors, by clicking on “Add”
  • Search for feeds by clicking “Add” and typing the source name

But wait, there’s more!

Digg Reader for iPhone and iPad will be live in the Apple App Store tomorrow.

Before we get too impressed with ourselves, we want to reiterate that this is very much a beta release. Our focus over the past 3 months has been to build a simple, clean, fast, uncluttered reading experience.  We will be working intensively in the coming months to build out all the remaining features and capabilities on our to-do list. And of course, we’ll be paying close attention to feedback from users.

Things we’ll be rolling out in the next few months include:

  • Search
  • Android app (before end of July)
  • Additional options like “View Only Unread” and “Mark As Unread”
  • Useful ways to rank and sort your posts and stories, such as (1) by popularity within your social networks, (2) by interestingness to you, and (3) by article length
  • Better tools for organizing feeds and folders, as well as support for tagging
  • More options for sharing and sending (e.g., to LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, Tumblr, Squarespace, Evernote, Dropbox, Buffer), and integration of IFTTT functions
  • Browser extension and/or bookmarklet
  • Ability to import and export your data
  • Uber for cronuts

We’re excited for you to try out this first version of Digg Reader! Please send your feedback, suggestions, and feature requests to reader@digg.com. Oh, and definitely let us know if you find any bugs. We will smite them.

Digg

Over the last 90 days, the Digg engineering team — all 5 of them — has been heads-down building an updated take on the RSS reader. For our first public release, in time to (just) beat the shutdown of Google Reader, our aim has been to nail the basics: a web and mobile reading experience that is clean, simple, functional, and fast. We’re also introducing a tool that allows users to elevate the most important stories to the top.

And so next week we will begin rolling out Digg Reader, version 1. We’re doing the launch in phases because, as you might have guessed, RSS aggregation is a hard thing to do at scale, and we want to make sure the experience is as fast and reliable as possible. Everyone will have access by June 26th. With all this in mind, we thought now would be a good moment to come up for air and share a little bit about the product you’ll see next week, and what else we’ll be adding over the next few months.

image

Given the compressed time frame for this sprint, we decided early on that we needed to focus on one type of user. We asked ourselves who had most to lose from the shutdown of Google Reader, and the answer was fairly obvious: the power user, the people who depend on the availability, stability, and speed of Reader every day. The good news is that these users are also the most eager to contribute to the development process. (Over 18,000 people signed up to provide feedback on the product.)

image

Here’s what we heard from them:

  • Make it fast.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Let me import my feeds and folders from Google Reader.

So with that in mind, this beta release centers on these core elements of the product:

  • 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.

image

image

Launch is always an exciting moment, but it’s what follows that will matter most to our users. In the 60 days following launch, our focus will be on:

  • Android app.
  • Speed.
  • 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.
  • Collecting and responding to user feedback.

…and getting started on:

  • Search.
  • Notifications.
  • And of course, a button that, when pushed, automatically delivers a cronut to your desk. Uber for cronuts.

We mentioned in a prior post that Digg Reader will ultimately be a ‘freemium’ product. But we’re not going to bait-and-switch. All of the features introduced next week, as well as many others yet to come, will be part of the free experience.

While you’re at the beach and doing foliage cruises (or whatever people do in October), we’ll be spending the summer and fall building out a richer feature set, drawing heavily on users’ feedback, ideas, and requests. But first, we want to get the basics right, starting with a clean and uncluttered design and a powerful backend infrastructure than can operate well at scale.

Thanks for your patience and stay tuned for next week!

Digg

Two weeks ago, we sent out a second survey to the over 18,000 people who signed up to help us work on our reader. In our first survey, we focused on core discovery and reading features. This time around we wanted to learn about the more ancillary features like read later and sharing. Here’s what we learned from over 8,600 responses:

 

Email Still Dominates Sharing

image

While about 55% of users share news via Facebook or Twitter, over 75% share news via email. It almost goes without saying that our reader will include seamless sharing to all these services.

 

How People Read Things Later

image

Though over 1/3 of respondents don’t use a “read it later” service, Pocket, Instapaper, Evernote and Readability are all popular options. Don’t worry! Our goal is to support all of them.

 

Social Features Aren’t A Top Priority

image

Nearly half of all respondents said that they never used Google Reader’s social features (before they were rolled back in 2011), while just 17% said that they used them often. Though we may not have a robust social functionality in place for launch, ultimately we believe that social features which foster connections between readers will be an important part of the Digg experience.

 

People Will Pay

image

Free products on the Internet don’t have a great track record. They tend to disappear, leaving users in a lurch. We need to build a product that people can rely on and trust will always be there for them. We’re not sure how pricing might work, but we do know that we’d like our users to be our customers, not our product. So when we asked survey participants whether or not they would be willing to pay, we were pleased to see that over 40% said yes.

Our beta release in June will be just the beginning, a product built with experimentation in mind by a team eager to work with you to build something you love.

As always, if you’re willing to lend a hand, including participating in surveys like this, please sign up at digg.com/reader!

Last week we sent out a survey to the over 17,000 people who signed up to help us work on our reader. Amazingly, we’ve gotten more than 8,000 responses so far, and they keep trickling in. Here’s what we’ve learned:

 

Users read a lot, a lot of the time

image

image

80%(!) of respondents check Google Reader many times a day. And 40% of users follow more than 100 feeds. There is no doubt about it — this is a product for power users, and we’ll need to make sure we have some serious infrastructure in place to support that kind of usage for launch.

 

Google Reader isn’t for work, and it isn’t for play – it’s for both

image

Over 75% of respondents indicated that they use Google Reader for both work and play. This type of dual usage is an impressive testament to the product’s flexibility.

 

People are eager to try and find a product that can replace Reader

image

image

The survey suggests that people are trying a lot of different types of RSS products, but have yet to settle on one or another en masse.

 

Don’t give short shrift to shortcuts

image

67% reported that they use keyboard shortcuts at least some of the time. Don’t worry, this one’s definitely on the list.

 

Search is more of a hobby

image

This was an interesting data point. While 25% reported never using search, over just over half said that they sometimes do. Search is a huge investment in terms of development time and infrastructure costs. We don’t yet know if we’ll have the necessary infrastructure up and running in time for our initial beta launch, but it’s definitely on the roadmap.

If there’s one thing you could remove from Google Reader what would it be?

At the end of the survey, we asked a few open ended questions. Thousands of responses were left, and we looked through every single one. Mike made a word cloud of a few of the response sets.

image

We have a ton of work to do in the next few months, and we need your help. If you’re willing to lend a hand, including participating in surveys like this, please sign up at digg.com/reader!

Digg