Digg Android app

Can Digg flourish on Android?

As the company’s reinvention continues, Digg recently released a new app for Android. If not great news, it should at least be a welcome development, right? After all, we have a well known company committing to Android.

Unfortunately, the situation is not that simple. Whilst Digg may be well established, they are no longer the giant of old.

Digg started out with a simple premise. It was a social bookmarking website where users could vote up and comment on the links they liked.

Following management and ownership changes, inertia set in. The site became increasingly influenced by networks of experienced users, eager to promote their own – or their friends’ – content.

Under Betaworks ownership, much has changed at Digg. The comments section underneath links has gone and the company now takes a more editorial approach to its front page.

Community alienation

Android users have been waiting for a new Digg mobile app, following an earlier release for iOS. Perhaps inevitably, a degree of anger has flourished online as a result. Digg attempted to defuse this with an injection of humour into their blog post announcing the Android release:

By far the most common user feedback over the past two months has been some variation on, “Where’s my freaking Android app, you lazy idiots!?” But, you know, with more colourful language.

Despite this gallant attempt to get Android users on-side, some remain unmoved, judging by the comments left on the blog post.

What Digg needs to get right

Ultimately, though, the success or failure of the new Digg won’t be determined by a delay in releasing an app for the world’s most popular mobile platform.

In a more high profile case, Android users experienced a significant delay before Instagram eventually made an appearance on Google Play. But despite the wait, in April this year it was revealed that almost half of Instagrammers use the Android app (this share has likely increased since).

So if Betaworks make Digg’s offering compelling, then it will be popular on Android, regardless of unfavourable release schedules.

Digg Reader, a news reading service aiming to capitalise on the demise of Google Reader, has been introduced. Yet the biggest problem faced by Digg is the fact that it is operating in a highly competitive space.

On Android, Digg Reader lacks many basic features that have already reached maturity on rival products. By contrast, leading contender Feedly has a sophisticated Android app that has been developed over a number of years.

There is potential in the new Digg, but at a minimum, the company needs to find a way to accelerate development, so that its product at least matches those offered by rivals.

Digg’s curation-based offering could combine well with its news reader. If the company is able to help its users discover new content, complementing their usual news sources, then there is potential for Betaworks to revive a once much-loved brand.