Ever since Kevin Rose decided to take over the leadership role at Digg, there has been a lot of conversation and speculation over the coming Digg v4.0, but today we need to speculate no more, as Alpha invite emails have gone out and we have been provided a limited look into the new Digg v4.0 Alpha. We have also been given the go ahead to blog about it, so here we go.
The new version of the site is being hosted at http://new.digg.com, where you are provided the ability to log in, if you have been provided access, or to sign up for an invite to Alpha at a later date. I believe that only a small handful of top users and Digg staff are currently being allowed to access the new version of the site at this time.
Once inside you are immediately provided a list of suggested profiles that you might be interested in following. It is interesting to note that only publishers, celebrities, and company profiles are being recommended, and not any normal users (even when some of the profiles have only 1 or 2 followers). Very similar to type of accounts Twitter suggests when signing up for a new account.
Next you are given the option to connect your email, Facebook, or Twitter accounts to find more people to follow. After which you are taken to ‘My News’ which is your dashboard of recommended content based on the people you follow, very similar to the previous Recommendation section.
From this section on through the site, there are a large number of both big and small changes to the site, but many of the original features are still around, even if shown or named in a different way.
You will notice on your own some of the smaller changes that we will not spend time showcasing, like the navigational buttons moving to the left side, bury being replaced by the single option report, and favorites becoming saved, but lets look at some of the more important or interesting changes.
Categories seem to have had a major overhaul, not with name changes or additions, but rather with all the sub-categories being removed and only having one main top level category to choose from now. Even the Images and Video categories have been removed.
Additionally, categories have been removed from ‘My News’ section completely and have even been removed from the article pages as well. Even the urls all use simply /story/ instead of categories. http://new.digg.com/story/50_Pets_That_Are_Guaranteed_to_Make_You_Go_AWWW_PICS
Speaking of the article page, there are a few quick changes you will notice there as well.
Videos are now viewable on Digg without having to go to the source site (might be only for YouTube, as that is all we have seen so far).
Comments are also separated now into people you follow and then all comments.
Lastly, a small and rather out of place ‘most dugg comments’ box is tossed up in the right corner, making three different options for your comment viewing pleasure.
Submitting content has never been easier on Digg. Where you used to have to go through screen after screen to submit content in the past, you know have to simply insert your url in the submit box, which is on many different sections of the site.
Once the url is inserted, it drops down all the options you need to submit your article, offering suggested title and description, allowing the selection of a thumbnail, and lastly picking the proper category for the submission.
Click ‘Digg it’ and the submission is complete.
It also appears Digg has made efforts to eliminate duplication by not allowing any variations of the url to be submitted. So if you have one version of the url already submitted, then submitting the same url with the additional feedburner parameters will no longer cause the submission to be a duplicate.
However, they removed the suggested duplicate submissions screens (as far as we can tell) so when submitting the same story as one found on the front page from a completely different site, but with the exact same title, it was still able to be submitted.
Lastly, and probably one of the biggest changes Digg has made with this new version, is the ability for publishers to verify their ownership of a site and then have all their content auto-submitted to Digg.
Once you submit your feed, through the settings section on the site, then you are asked to verify your feed by ‘simply copying and pasting the verification key provided into your next post, you can place it either in the title, body or hidden in an HTML comment.’
Of course Digg is asking people to make custom feeds that only includes their most popular or featured content, so that it does not end up spamming their site with submissions, but this is not really likely to happen, as you can see from the video below:
After spending a few hours playing with the new Digg, there is honestly still a lot to digest. Many of the changes are probably based on statistics of how many people used the features, but it seems a little odd to remove all sub-categories or how allowing auto submissions from feeds will be received by Diggers.
This is also the Alpha version, so we will see what additional changes are made from now until Beta comes out.