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July 23, 2008

The Unlikely Integration Between Google News and Digg

TechCrunch reiterates the rumor that Google is about to acquire Digg. "The two companies have reportedly signed a letter of intent and are close to a deal that will bring Digg under the Google News property. The acquisition price is in the $200 million range, says one source." While I don't find too many reasons why Google would buy Digg, it's clear that Digg and Google News don't have almost anything in common.

Google hand-picked more than 4500 sources and used them to cluster news articles. The idea behind Google News was to display different perspectives on the same subject and to rank them algorithmically. Even the homepage is generated automatically, based on the editorial decisions of the publication included in Google News. Last year, when Google News added comments, the feature surprised many people: the comments could only come from "people or organizations who were actual participants in the story in question".

Digg gets the stories from users, who have to manually submit each item. To be promoted on the homepage, a story has to be voted by a sufficient number of users, who can also post comments. "Digg is democratizing digital media. As a user, you participate in determining all site content by discovering, selecting, sharing, and discussing the news, videos, and podcasts that appeal to you," explains the site. Launched as an alternative to Slashdot, Digg expanded from technology news to general news.

To integrate Google News with Digg, Google would have to radically change its news site and this is unlikely. Besides, Google News could easily add a voting system and user comments like in the recent Google search experiment, without needing a site like Digg. If Google does acquire Digg, I think it's for mining a big amount of votes and detecting patterns that could be used to improve features like "edit search results". Digg is also a good platform for experimenting with filtering information, news recommendations and could be helpful in Google's new social quests.


  1. I totally agree with you. Google News should stay... news. Digg is probably only 50% news anymore if that.

    Google already owns the domain Any ideas on what that could mean?

  2. "alternative to Slashdot"

    I'm fairly sure Digg ad an impact on Slashdot readership too, just based on the number of responses many stories get now versus in the past.

    On the other hand, I don' think Digg has had any impact on the quality of the content at Slashdot.

    At one extreme Slashdot has content (or more often pointers to other sources of content) that is selected by a few individuals. The value of the site is directly proportional to how well the Slashdot editors pick that content (and they are not always consistent about it).

    At the other extreme, Google builds news pages strictly (or so they say) by computer algorithm, no doubt, with a lot of tweeking to favor know good sources, etc.

    Digg goes up the middle of those two extremes and allows the masses to select top stories by voting on them. I tried it when it was fairly new and while most of the users were technically oriented. It did a fairly good job of bubbling "important" articles to the top, although it tends to favor home users over enterprise, and gadget freaks/gamers over serious programmers.

    There is clearly a lot of gaming of Digg that goes one, and you have to wonder if it wouldn't take as much staff to counter this (on a Google scale) as it would to just select the good articles in the first place.

    My guess is that Google feels $200M is a good price for the user base, and is not particularly interested in the technology, which they could easily do on their own (or already have).

    My suspicion is that the average age of Digg users is about 15, and unless this changes I'll probably never be a user of it. Maybe someone (Google) will invent a Digg for adults.

  3. "it's clear that Digg and Google News don't have almost anything in common"

    uhm - yeah, about as clear as that sentence.

  4. It is very obvious that the google and digg are very much alike but i don't why google bring digg under the google may be there some thing might be same .

  5. Hi,
    I don't think Google and Digg have the news in the same way.Digg strategy is different that's why Google never band it.

  6. I think that these two are totally alike,
    no such a huge difference there is..!

  7. I was wondering how much Google can take. They are big and main thread to all major search engines, and I am sure majority of the people prefer to use Google as SE. I don’t think digg will come under Google. In near future I haven’t see much a chance Integration Between Google News and Digg.
    They have nothing in common and are different from each others.

  8. I think both use different strategies .

  9. I don't think Google and Digg have the news in the same way.Digg strategy is different that's why Google never band it.