Google surprised Web users earlier this week with the announcement that it will shut down Google Reader as of 1 July. Many were left wondering what service will take its place, and it appears that Digg wants to help fill that void.
The online news aggregator has confirmed rumours that it will create its own RSS service, announcing in a blog post that it hopes to complete the project in the 109 days left until Reader closes its doors forever.
"We've heard people say that RSS is a thing of the past, and perhaps in its current incarnation it is, but as daily (hourly) users of Google Reader, we're convinced that it's a product worth saving," Digg's Andrew McLaughlin wrote.
In fact, Digg was already planning to surprise the Internet later this year with an RSS reader of its own — one that "makes the Internet a more approachable and digestible place," the company said. But since Google's announcement this week, the site has moved its project to the top of the priority list.
"We're going to build a reader, starting today," Digg said.
The company is no stranger to processing up-to-the-minute data: The Digg site constantly culls stories from the vast Internet to bring readers the best of the best news. And since it began working on News.me in 2010, the team has "been obsessed with building tools that surface the most interesting things on the Internet, in real-time."
Digg reinvented itself last fall when it was acquired by Betaworks and folded into News.me. "That's what has guided our approach to rebuilding Digg, and it's with that experience behind us (including a whole load of mistakes), that we will build the new reader," Digg said.
It won't be working completely from scratch, though. McLaughlin said the company hopes to identify and use the best Google Reader features, yet modernise them in a way to fit the Internet in 2013, which is overrun with social networks and communities that always have a finger on the pulse of what's interesting.
"Don't get us wrong," McLaughlin wrote. "We don't expect this to be a trivial undertaking. But we're confident we can cook up a worthy successor."
Without specifically saying so, Digg alluded to the idea that it will enforce its own 109-day deadline, in an attempt to launch on 1 July, the day that Google Reader will close. But the company can't continue the circle of online life without the input of its users. Digg wants to know what problems its new RSS reader should solve, what useful features it should include, and what dead weight to exclude. To pitch in your own thoughts or simply be notified when the new Digg reader is ready, check out the digg.com/reader site.
Many disgruntled Google Reader fans, meanwhile, have taken matters into their own hands by starting online petitions, which began appearing on Change.org and keepgooglereader.com today.