Digg Adds New Features, Removes One, and Entices YouTubers

Our favorite social news site, Digg, today released a whole slew of new features while silently removing at least one. I say silently because no one seems to have picked up on it. For extensive coverage, check out the official Digg blog, TechCrunch, Read/WriteWeb, Download Squad, or NewTeeVee. Otherwise, read on for a quick summary and the missing feature:

Digg Now Widescreen

The site has moved from a fixed-width layout to a flexible layout, which allows anyone with a widescreen monitor to really notice a difference (I’m using a 15.4″ widescreen right now and like the new look). Also, navigation is now on the top of the screen.

New Top 10

The top 10 hottest Digg stories are easily viewable anywhere you browse. If you’re browsing the front page, you’ll see the top 10 most popular stories on the right hand side updated in real time. If you’re in a particular category or in the upcoming section, you’ll see the top 10 for that category or section.

Watch Videos Inside Digg

Videos get their own direct link in the top navigation now, and you can watch videos from within Digg. Just click any video with a play icon to get a lightbox window which will play the video right there without leaving the site. Digg was already a great place to check out what is popular on the video web. Now it’s even nicer. Why browse multiple video sites when you can see what’s popular in a clean, crisp interface you’re already using?

Podcasting

This feature is in beta and allows you to digg both podcast series and individual podcast episodes. And you can listen to the podcasts without leaving Digg. Again, another move to entice multimedia users to have a place to consolidate / find their favorite podcasts.

What’s Missing?

If you check out your friends section, you’ll notice that friends are no longer broken up into friends you’ve befriended and friends that have befriended you. Friends now appear to be viewable only in terms of friends you have befriended. Interestingly enough, for all the additions today, Digg removed one of the main features that made it a social site in the first place.

Now any sort of socialness coming from the friends feature is gone, as it’s a one-way street. You really only know who you want to be friends with. Though, for most intents and purposes, this is probably a minor loss (even if I’m curious as to the reasoning of removing a social aspect of a social site).

Number One Wish

Digg still feels like the slowest site on the Internet. What’s the deal? Can we all donate a couple bucks for some new servers or something? I feel like I’m on dial-up when I use Digg.

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  • http://www.everydayisbetterthanthenext.com GreenLantern

    I have to admit, I was pretty let down by the “new” digg. If a fat girl puts on make up, she’s still fat. ;)

    Here is another article about the new digg I ran across. You might find it interesting.
    http://themulife.com.nyud.net:8080/?p=434

  • http://www.jzencovich.com/ Jon Zencovich

    Actually people HAVE noticed that you can’t see who friended you: ME. Did you read the comments on the first Digg announcement? (http://digg.com/tech_news/Digg_Unveils_New_Features_Kevin_s_Blog_Post_Explains_with_Video). And I’m not the only one.

    As for getting more servers, sorry to disappoint you, but Digg has 103 servers (http://blog.digg.com/?p=56). The problem is coding efficiency. And the fact that millions of people hit Digg’s front page per month.

    Overall the new version sit’s OK by me, but we’ve gone backwards in more than one area (friends!!).

    (Sorry if I seem a little critical, it’s not my intentions :) )

    –Jon Z | http://www.jzencovich.com

  • http://www.redvodkajelly.com Jacob

    I totally agree with the GreenLantern – the new updates has not fixed any of the issues Digg has started to have and has also not provided anything ground breaking.

    1) Who wants to listen to podcasts on Digg? Surely the idea of a podcast is to subscribe and have it download to your machine without having you to check for new episodes. Yes Diggs feature can be used to find new podcasts – but i can already see that I wont find anything new in the list as the first 5 pages are well known podcasts and any new exciting casts will have a hard time to get enough diggs to rise high enough.

    2) I would have much preferred for the new flexible layout to adjust the story layout to two columns or something if your screen is wide enough rather than just give more room for the 255 char description. The new wordpress.com design does just this and moves a menu to the right of bottom area depending on how much room is available.

    3) I understand that Digg is a business and needs to make money, but the adverts seem a lot more prominent now that the menu is at the top and you have to keep moving your mouse over it to access the menu.

    Anyway thats just my 2 cents.

  • Bob Caswell

    Thanks for the comments.

    Jon, I must have missed your comment when I first skimmed through the 300+ comments on the Digg submission you mentioned. In any event, to clarify, I still don’t think many have picked up on the “silent” change in the sense that I found no mention of it on the few dozen blogs/sources I read this morning that covered the Digg news.

    And I was aware of Digg’s server count, though you make it sound like a 103 servers is more than enough. That may seem like a lot of servers, but Digg is in the top 100 sites for the whole freakin’ world (by multiple measurements).

    You’re spot on that coding efficiency is likely another culprit of the issue at hand, but I’m not convinced that more servers wouldn’t help…

  • grawity

    In Lithuania, a social/email/mobile phone pics/logos/javagames site, one.lt is very popular among people 12-22 years age. Besides other “features” of this site, it’s VERY slow – a lot slower than Digg which is fast enough for me.