(Digg gadget by Techsquad)
Digg's touting its redesign, coming in the next few months, but "redesign" doesn't really cover it. This is more than a surface-level change, an aesthetic adjustment or a new skin. This is more of a simultaneous launch of a totally new social news site with minor similarities to Digg, and the elimination of the old Digg. Digg CEO Jay Adelson wasn't exaggerating when he said "every single thing has changed." This is a totally new idea, and one that's bound to alienate some long-term Digg users.
Digg is going social in the most radical way possible. Today, Digg is a list of stories in descending popularity that were submitted by users (or, often as not, the publications themselves), and when you go to Digg.com, that's what you see: a list of stories. The new Digg won't look anything like that. Instead, it'll tap into your other social streams, figure out what you like, and present those stories to you in a personalized homepage. And since you can pick tags that interest you ("green," "design," "Apple"), Digg will have a pretty good idea what you like. That homepage, by the way, is what you'll see when you go to Digg.com—there'll still be a link for popular stories over in a corner somewhere, but popularity is taking a backseat to personalization.
If you want to take advantage of this new personalization, you'll have to give Digg access to your Facebook feed through Facebook Connect, your Twitter, and your OpenID. Digg will then look through all that data, match up your interests with stories already in its system, and pop them into your personal Digg homepage. And given Twitter specifically named Digg as one of its inaugural @Anywhere partners, you should be able to share links both ways.
"When I say the new Digg is socially curated, I’m not kidding," Adelson tells FastCompany.com. "This is just not the most popular or most dugg stories. This is, in theory, what should be the most relevant story to you at any given time. Whenever somebody diggs something, favorites something or tweets something, all of those are calls to action that say, 'Hey, this is something that might be particularly relevant to you right now.'"
And Digg is also integrating new tools for publishers: No longer will you have to manually submit stories, which often gives too much weight to the user who actually submits it. Now, publishers can choose to automatically submit every story to Digg, and let Digg's recommendation system take care of spreading it. The first or first few users who digg a story will have more relevance than the submitter. After all, which do you care about more, that the Huffington Post submitted a story, or that a guy with similar taste to yours likes it?
The new Digg is, to put it mildly, a totally new system the likes of which we haven't really seen before. Some users and abusers of what we now have to call the old Digg won't be pleased—and there are bound to be privacy concerns, with that much personal data flowing in and out of Digg's servers. But it also has the potential to be a pretty amazing social news site, one that knows what you want to read and removes the hassle of navigating through fifty links about the joys of smoking pot. We don't know exactly what it'll look like yet—you can sign up for a beta invite at this page now, and it should officially roll out in a few months. But we're excited.
Greg Ferenstein contributed to this report.