Digg is running out of time to get its new Reader right, as Google Reader will be closing its doors in less than 72 hours. It was a pleasant surprise to see Digg Reader becoming available for iOS users yesterday, but the web version continues to be in closed beta. Since Digg has finally sent us an invitation to the web service, we decided to take it for a little test run. Unfortunately, we don’t have anything really great to report based on the stage it is at right now, though it’s likely that they are keeping it in private beta for this very reason. At the moment, Digg Reader appears to have been put together hurriedly, and lacks even some staple RSS reader features like search and the proper implementation of unread badges. There is no customization to speak of either. Not all is doom and gloom though, as the service’s simplicity and Digg integration is sure to appeal to the minimalists and Digg loyalists among us.
If you have an invitation to use Digg Reader, getting started with the service is really easy. The welcome screen has nothing other than an ‘Import from Google Reader’ button, which requires you to connect with your Google account and grant the app access to your Google Reader account in order to set everything up within moments.
Digg Reader tries to copy Google Reader in terms of interface, and manages to do that quite accurately. The feeds are arranged neatly into folders (if they were arranged that way in your Google account), and most of them have a personalized icon to go with them. You can’t find out the exact number of unread posts though, despite the fact that there is an ‘Unread Counts’ toggle in the Settings section. Even changing that toggle’s state several times did not make the badges visible for us, but this could be a beta issue for now and will likely be fixed by the final release.
There are two ways you can view posts in Digg Reader. The default view displays your fields in the form of a list of headlines, while the other one expands all posts and lets you scroll through all of them in an unbroken stream.
To add new feeds to your Digg Reader account, hit the ‘Add’ button located in the bottom-left corner. You can enter a new source’s URL, or search for a particular keyword for more convenience. The best thing about Search though, is that you can browse through Digg categories and find interesting sources to follow from there.
Of course, a lot of things need to be ironed out of Digg Reader for now, but that is why it is still in closed beta. It is unclear that once Google Reader shuts down, how signing up for the service will work, but I hope the Digg team has got the problem figured out. To give Digg Reader a go or apply for an invite, head to the following link.
Visit Digg Reader (Invite Only)