Sunday, July 11, 2010

Can Digg Come Back?

Digg v4

Turns out that I'm doing well enough after the surgery to blog, so thought I'd put together a little post since last week was a bit light on the news.

I didn't want to talk about it until it was actually in production, but several people have gotten their eyes on the next iteration of Digg, and it's definitely a bigger change than previous upgrades. The question is, is it enough to reinvigorate Digg? Unlike a lot of other folks, I really don't think Digg is dying - not by a long shot. They still get a lot of traffic, they've just been on a decline. Despite the fact that the new Digg looks way too much like Facebook, I think it has a ton of potential and is the best direction to take the social news site in.

Currently, Digg works by just having stories voted up by its users within various categories so that you read the news that the masses deem most interesting. However, this process has proven to be flawed as the wisdom of the masses isn't always so wise and often skewed by people who you don't agree with (i.e. fanboyism is rampant). The new paradigm unashamedly takes a little from Facebook and more from Twitter in that you follow individual sites and users to get the stories that they think are valuable instead of the general rabble. This is one of the few application of social networking these days that actually makes sense. I think most of us talk to our friends about some story they saw or read about and want to share on almost a daily basis, so Digg would be ideal for that.

Another cool feature is that websites can automatically submit their newest stories to Digg. I think this can add up to a winning combination for Digg. By getting the content providers more involved and empowering the little guy, I think they can bring back a lot of people that have probably left Digg in recent years. All they have to do is make sure it gets publicized well enough. If this doesn't work though, it could potentially be the beginning of the end for Digg, but I think Digg would have a pretty long tail even then.

Twitter and e-Commerce

Twitter is trying a new way to make money, but it's a rather unoriginal idea: twitter feeds for retail deals. This has been done by Amazon and several other sites as well as a ton of small businesses already. It's not that it's a bad idea, but I think it's bad that it took them this long to put something like this together. It's not the best sign of Twitter's future if they're this behind the curve.

YouTube Leanback and 2304p

I like how often YouTube experiments with new things. Last week two cool features were revealed. One of them is called Leanback, which feels an awful lot like a precursor to Google TV. It basically lets you experience YouTube on a bigger screen, or even just on your computer screen but with minimal user interaction unlikely typical YouTube browsing. It provides better flow between videos you'd be interested in given your subscriptions and viewing history, and you can search and immediately consume videos from your search results.

Less cool, because it's less useful, is the ability for YouTube to support more than 1080p resolution: 2304p (4096 x 2304). Very few people have displays that support this and is probably more ideal for a small theater than your living room, but I do like that YouTube is thinking big.

iPad Ad Second Look

For the record: I think the iPad is really cool for what it is. I have no desire to get one because I know I'd play with it for a while and then never touch it, but it is compelling. Still, I can't resist pointing out this analysis of an ad showing a scene from Star Trek on the device in a better format than you'd see in real life. Apple did this also with Flash on the iPad - why do they keep fudging their ads like this if they already have a product that makes people piss their pants? It's just in poor taste, and it's disappointing. The one thing I've always come to expect from Apple is quality, even in their advertising. The antenna scandal with the newest iPhone and iPad chicanery like this is just unfortunate.

Other Stuff

There are a couple of stories I noted that I found interesting but have nothing to say about, really.

Java developer is now one of the most difficult positions to fill in IT. It's ironic how many more people know C/C++ than Java given how much more confusing they are, in my opinion.

Facebook has bought Nextstop, which is in the business of user-generated destination guides.

Have a sunny week, everyone!

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