Total Pageviews

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Betaworks Unveils Its Highly Anticipated Digg RSS Reader

Last summer, Betaworks, a technology incubator in New York, raised eyebrows when it announced it had bought the remains of the once-hot social news site Digg for half a million dollars.

Fast forward to nearly a year later: Betaworks is rolling out Digg Reader, a free RSS reader, to the public, on Tuesday.

The timing could not be better. Google is planning to close Google Reader, one of the more ubiquitous RSS readers, on July 1. Betaworks is determined to not only restore some of Digg’s former glory and reputation, but also offer an alternative and replacement for Google Reader.

Jake Levine, the general manager for Digg, said the company’s first priority was to “rebuild the product that people are so sad to be losing.”

He said the first iteration of the Digg Reader, which would be available on the Web and for the iPhone and iPad, wold be simple and efficient.

“Digg.com is a casual tool, you don’t get a personalized experience,” said Mr. Levin. “This is the other end of the spectrum, for the power user, the hyper news consumer.”

Mr. Levine said Betaworks planned to continue to introduce new features to the Digg Reader, including social-sharing features and integration with other popular Web services like Evernote and If This Then That. He also said the mobile versions of the products would have more experimental features than the Web version to start.

Although Betaworks’ timing is precipitous, the company faces steep competition from companies like Twitter, Flipboard and other readers like Feedly, which have been gaining an audience, as well as Facebook, which is said to be working on a mobile news reading product of its own. But Betaworks has proved itself to be a factory for creative new services! . The company already rolled out a revamped homepage for Digg.com, which aggregates news from around the Web and attracted millions of fans for Dots, its minimalistic mobile app game, as well as introduced a search engine for GIFs called Giphy.

Betaworks executives also have a few cards up their sleeves, including advice and pointers from the original members of Digg, including Kevin Rose, its founder, and Daniel Burka, the creator director at the original site.

Mr. Levine said the company’s ultimate goal was to solve an pain point for the Internet.

“Anyone that uses the Internet knows there’s too many good things to read and not enough time to read them,” he said. The Digg Reader is “a hint of our interest and vision for” a solution to that.