Digg today rolled out a comprehensive redesign of its homepage, bringing the people-powered news aggregator a step closer to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Here's the gist: The new Digg is intended to make it even easier to share content and to follow content posted by your friends. Beginning today, you'll be able to log into Digg and read news posted by friends, whose recently "dug" stories will always show up on the right rail of your homepage.
The idea is to make Digg a more social experience – and to compete with Facebook, which does a lot of this sharing stuff already. For that reason, some bloggers aren't convinced that the redesign will make much difference.
"In order for this to lead to the resurgence Digg needs, user behavior will need to change, especially among casual users," writes TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid. "The site has long been dominated by power users who account for many of the stories that hit the front page — now there’s much more emphasis on what your friends have shared. Which assumes, of course, that you friends are actually sharing things on Digg, which is hardly a given at this point."
So what does the new Digg do right? Well, for one, the link submission process is streamlined – and like Facebook, Digg now automatically populates links with photos and description information. And we like the way we can quickly toggle between a customized news feed – populated by stories our friends found interesting – and the traditional Digg feed.
But the new Digg has been notably slow to load on many computers, and according to at least one blogger, the updated site has gone down repeatedly since launch. For our part, we're having serious problems accessing the official Digg blogs, and although the site has been churning along at a reasonable pace, we did get at least one page that failed to load.
Over at PC Mag, Jeffrey L. Wilson says he's had serious trouble logging on to the site. "The system rejected my username and password, and at other times wouldn't let me click 'Login' to send the information. Attempting to log in with my Facebook and Twitter credentials produced an error message," Wilson writes. "In fact, our own PCMag homepage was a victim of Digg's problems; pages with Digg buttons failed to load."