Digg for Android review: Disappointing, but has potential

Digg's reader features are built right into the flagship mobile app, which means your RSS subscriptions and social news are accessible all in one place. This makes for a unique news reading experience that other reader apps -- specifically those dedicated only to RSS subscriptions -- can't mimic. As a whole, this sort of hybrid news reader has big potential, but as you'll see in my points below, Digg needs to add some polish to its idea if it hopes to keep users from turning away.

One thing that's great about Digg's reader is how easily it lets you import your Google Reader subscriptions. From the app, all you have to do is log in with your Google credentials and wait a few seconds for it to populate with all of your subscriptions and folders. There's no need to use Google Takeout, and no need to upload any OPML files. The app also lets you add subscriptions straight away by typing a URL into the Add screen. If you don't have a specific URL in mind, you can browse Digg's curated list of sites (organized by category) to see if anything interests you. From the list, you can add individual sites a la carte or entire categories at once, which is convenient. After importing, you should see all of your feeds lined up in the sliding menu on the left.

Just like with Digg Top Stories, you can swipe or tap any item from your subscription to share, Digg, or save it.

Also an RSS reader, the Digg app shows you your feeds and can open items up in an internal browser. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

While Digg's controls and visual interface are certainly impressive, make no mistake, this reader does have its share of flaws. On a basic level, it doesn't let you organize your feeds. So, if you want to move a subscription between folders or add a new subscription to an existing folder, you'll have to do so on the Web. In fact, Digg doesn't even let you unsubscribe to sites from the app, which is a shame.

As with many other readers on the market, Digg keeps track of unread items in your feed via small, running counters next to each of your subscriptions. The counters perform reliably, but unfortunately, their helpfulness is handicapped by the lack of a show-unread viewing option. As it is now, the app only gives you a feed of both read and unread items together.

Other features that would be nice to have include swipe gestures, mark as unread, and search.

Conclusion
While the Digg app, with its ample white space and clean typefaces, certainly looks beautiful, there's no question its developers still have a lot of work to do. The Reader features go nicely with Digg's social news, but each element as currently constructed in the app feels unfinished. Case in point, there's no way to view Popular or Upcoming news stories on Digg.

Still, because Digg is a unique sort of news hybrid, and the folks behind it have been openly soliciting and incorporating suggestions from users, I'm confident it will find its way. For now, though, I wouldn't blame you for looking elsewhere for a more full-featured (and landscape-capable) RSS reader.

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    Where to Buy

    Digg (Android)

    Part Number: com.diggreader

    Free

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Category News readers and aggregators
    • Compatibility Android