Digg, a San Francisco-based social news site, is embracing video and podcasting, and will launch a major facelift to reflect its new expanding coverage on Monday morning. The new interface should improve discovery of the most popular and top-ranked stories, company executives say.
In order to accommodate these changes, the company has gone from a fixed-width page to what co-founder Kevin Rose calls a widescreen format. The fluid design will help Digg users with large monitors, he says. The new features also include a special Top 10 Stories/Videos section, helping the new visitors to find the top stories. (See screenshots below the fold.)
The emphasis, in this upgrade, is clearly video. As part of the offering, Digg users will be able to view videos from Google, YouTube and Metacafe in a special lightbox, without leaving the Digg website. In addition, a new wing of the site will be devoted to listening to and digging podcasts.
“The video section is one of the fastest growing section of Digg,” says Jay Adelson, chief executive officer of Digg. “Since video is different than news, we are creating a separate category, and it helps us enhance the entire offering.”
Digg is the latest social web filter to embrace video aggressively. A few days ago, StumbleUpon added video stumbling to its offering. As more and more video moves online, finding the good stuff is going to become harder and harder. As we’ve been saying at NewTeeVee, there’s a lot of opportunity for startups that can aggregate top videos.
But in contrast to newcomers, Digg and StumbleUpon have the power to become star makers due to the sheer size of their communities. Digg says it has more than 700,000 registered users.
Adelson explained the recent upgrade as an attempt by the company to incorporate user feedback and enhance the user experience. “We are making Digg more customizable and searchable,” he says.
While addition of video digging is understandable – watching online video is one of the fastest growing activities on the Internet – it is hard to fathom Digg’s efforts when it comes to podcasting. Despite lot of hype, podcasting hasn’t gone mainstream. Listening to a podcasts takes a lot more time than reading a story, or watching a 120-second video.
“Digg is about sharing, and if people want to share podcasts, we want to give the ability to do that,” says Adelson, and adds that it was one of the most requested features by Digg users. We don’t give it much of a chance, but then we might be wrong. However, the podcast digging could eventually result in Digg expanding to say – music or photos. Now that could be fun!
Digg Video player