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Digg rolls out 'very much a beta' RSS reader

The web- and iOS-based service, available starting today, is designed for the "Google Reader refugee" just days before the search giant's product shuts down.

The new Digg Reader on iOS. Digg

Digg is opening up its RSS reader to users who have signed up for early access, the site said in a post on its blog early this morning.

As planned, it's rolling out days before the timer runs out on Google Reader. Google announced in March that it would shut down its RSS reader on July 1.

Digg is making no pretensions that this is something put together quickly in time for Google's exit.

"We want to reiterate that this is very much a beta release," the post said. "Our focus over the past 3 months has been to build a simple, clean, fast, uncluttered reading experience."

The first batch of invites to the Digg offering were sent to the survey participants who powered the development, and the site is letting people join the back of the line to get access to the new reader in the next couple days.

It will let users import from Google and will have basic functions to appeal to power users. It also expects to debut more-sophisticated functions "in the next few months," including search, options like "view only unread," post ranking and sorting, and better organizational tools. Meanwhile, Digg Reader for the iPhone and iPad should hit the Apple App Store in the coming hours, Digg said, adding that its Android app will be ready before the end of next month.

Digg is part of a scrum of companies fighting to capitalize on Google's exit. AOL launched a reader Monday. Feedly has been refreshing its site, which is compatible with all major browsers, with a new interface that doesn't require plug-ins or browser extensions.

Speculation has also arisen that Facebook is exploring a reader, too.