This Monday Digg will release the next version of the enormously popular community news site digg.com. Mike Arrington and I did a TalkCrunch podcast with Digg's co-founder and Chief Architect Kevin Rose and CEO Jay Adelson, in which we discussed Digg's evolution and what the new product (which they refer to as "Version 3") offers. Below are some sneak peak screenshots, to whet your appetite for Monday's big launch. Mike has a Techcrunch post up about it too.
The main new feature is 5 new categories - they called them 'containers' in our podcast. In addition to Technology, the new categories are: Science, World & Business, Entertainment, Video, and Gaming. This expands Digg beyond merely being a technology-focused site. However in the podcast Kevin and Jay told us that the core audience will still be the Technology community - who they think will participate in the other 5 communities. But Digg hopes to expand its user base too, to include more mainstream people. However I get the sense that the core tech crowd will be crucial in gaining momentum for the 5 new containers - because without user participation, the new (sub)communities will languish. As the digg press release itself recognizes, the success of the new categories relies on getting the network effects going:
"As the community grows, the efficacy of the digg prioritization process increases, giving a true snapshot of public opinion and the ability to watch news move up the digg hierarchy as it breaks."
Another new feature is that users can select and de-select topics. So for example if you're not interested in the Celebrity topic in the Entertainment container, you can easily filter that out. Also new is the application of the digg concept to videos - which the press release says is "the first ever use of the digg methodology in areas outside of news." The friends section of digg has been upgraded too - you can now be alerted to content that friends have "agreed on", plus you can list people who have added you as a friend.
Digg gets 8 Million Unique Monthly Visitors and has more than 300,000 active registered users, so this expansion outside of tech news will be seen as a way to build on that large and heavily participative user base. The key will be if they can get the existing users to support the new categories, which will in turn help drive new - more mainstream - users onto the site. Obviously this represents a challenge to Netscape's new digg-like site, which right off the bat was aimed at less technically-inclined people. Should be interesting to watch!
Digg logged out
Digg logged in
Add and remove topics
My friends list
Friends agreed on