A few days ago we announced that we were re-prioritizing our product roadmap for 2013 in order to build an RSS reader from scratch. While we had long planned to build something like this, we had no idea we’d be attempting to do it so soon, or within such a tight timeframe. But after Google’s announcement last week, and Reader’s imminent shutdown, we think it’s the right thing to do.  It’s certainly the self-interested thing to do, given how much we all relied on Google Reader. 

Over 800 comments were left on last week’s blog post. That’s more than we received when we told the world we were rebuilding Digg itself. It’s also proof that Google Reader users (and RSS devotees in general) are rabid information addicts with strong opinions.  We’re truly grateful for the input.

The comments are rife with practical, creative, and smart insights that we will do our level best not to squander. Over the next few months, our goal is to spend as much time as possible with devoted users of Google Reader and other reading applications.

After combing through all 800 comments, here are 4 points that seemed to recur, and loudly:

  1. Keep it simple, stupid*

  2. Make it fast (like, really fast)

  3. Synchronize across devices

  4. Make it easy to import from existing Google Reader accounts

Google did a lot of things right with its Reader, but based on what we’re hearing from users, there is room for meaningful improvement. We want to build a product that’s clean and flexible, that bends easily and intuitively to the needs of different users. We want to experiment with and add value to the sources of information that are increasingly important, but difficult to surface and organize in most reader applications — like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, or Hacker News. We likely won’t get everything we want into v1, but we believe it’s worth exploring.

We’re a small team, and while we tend to work best under tight time constraints, building a Google Reader replacement in a few months is a massive undertaking that will consume our days and nights. We’re confident we can ship a product that meets the principles above, but if a feature is missing on Day 1 that you were really looking forward to, we ask that you 1) tell us and 2) be patient.

With that in mind, we’re going to continue to gather input from Reader junkies, casual users, and even the original developers themselves. If you’re at all interested in being a part of the development process (or just keeping up with our progress), please join our email list. We’ll use that list to keep in touch with you and the thousands of others who have already signed up.


P.S. We’re also eager to work with any developers that want to lend a hand, so get in touch if you’re interested in being a part of this (mildly insane) sprint.

Like many of you, we were dismayed to learn that Google will be shutting down its much-loved, if under-appreciated, Google Reader on July 1st. Through its many incarnations, Google Reader has remained a solid and reliable tool for those who want to ensure they are getting the best from their favorite sections of the Internet. And though they were not wholly appreciated at the time, Reader’s early social features were forward-thinking and hugely useful.

We’ve heard people say that RSS is a thing of the past, and perhaps in its current incarnation it is, but as daily (hourly) users of Google Reader, we’re convinced that it’s a product worth saving. So we’re going to give it our best shot. We’ve been planning to build a reader in the second half of 2013, one that, like Digg, makes the Internet a more approachable and digestible place. After Google’s announcement, we’re moving the project to the top of our priority list. We’re going to build a reader, starting today.

Since 2010, when we started working on News.me at betaworks, we’ve been obsessed with building tools that surface the most interesting things on the Internet, in real-time. That’s what has guided our approach to rebuilding Digg, and it’s with that experience behind us (including a whole load of mistakes), that we will build the new reader.

We hope to identify and rebuild the best of Google Reader’s features (including its API), but also advance them to fit the Internet of 2013, where networks and communities like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit and Hacker News offer powerful but often overwhelming signals as to what’s interesting. Don’t get us wrong: we don’t expect this to be a trivial undertaking. But we’re confident we can cook up a worthy successor.

In order to pull this off in such a small window, we’re going to need your help. We need your input on what you want to see in a reader. What problems should it solve for you? What’s useful? What isn’t? What do you wish it could do that it can’t today?

If you want to pitch in your thoughts – or just want to notified when it’s ready – please click here. If you have zero interest in any of this, don’t worry, the Digg you know and love isn’t going away.


PS - If you love making beautiful things and want to help us build the new reader, please let us know!

We’re proud of what the new Digg team has accomplished since we took over the site in August. We released an iPhone app, an iPad app (both featured by Apple), an email product called The Daily Digg, and a site redesign. We doubled our users, publishers are starting to notice "the Digg effect" once again, and most importantly, users think we’re on the right track. As we look forward to 2013, we wanted to take a moment and talk a little bit about our approach to monetization.

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It has now been over 100 days since we launched the new Digg. In the last couple of months, we launched an iPad app, redesigned the iPhone app, nearly doubled the number of stories on the homepage, and upgraded many of the features we had to skimp on during the six week sprint (Twitter login, for example). We doubled our monthly active users from June (the last full month of Old Digg) to October, and people are starting to notice.

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We’re happy to report that Digg for iPad, and an update to Digg for iPhone 5 is now live in the app store!

Free Download — go get it!

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Today we launched the Digg Archive, a tool to help users of the old Digg (before July 2012) retrieve a history of their Diggs, Submissions, Saved Articles, and Comments.

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We rolled out a cool new feature this morning. Find a story on Digg that looks awesome but don’t have time to read it? Click “Save” under any story to save it to your Reading List on Digg.com and to the Digg iPhone app.

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It’s been a fun and crazy seven days since launch. Here’s a quick summary of our progress to date and plans for this week.

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Coming up for air to provide a quick update on the new Digg.

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On July 20, we announced that we were turning Digg back into a startup and rebuilding it from scratch in six weeks. After an intense month and a half, we managed to get the new Digg up and running on a fresh code base and infrastructure. We now have a solid foundation on which to build, and we expect to build fast. Yesterday, we previewed the new Digg applications for web, iPhone, and mobile web and today we’re happy to share Digg v1.

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