Digg will unveil a new photo-heavy site this week, bringing the news aggregator’s look even further from its beginnings.

by Donna Tam| cnet

News aggregator Digg is getting a makeover that does away with the headlines list, adds photos, and integrates Facebook and Twitter into its Digg score. But it won’t offer commenting — yet.

The site’s new team is hoping to bring back some of that Digg commenting magic at later date, Digg posted on its blog Rethinkdigg today. The new site is expected to launch later this week.

“When Digg was founded in 2004, it was one of the only places on the Web to have a conversation with like-minded people. Today, conversations happen everywhere, and the problem that Digg started to solve in 2004 now has no shortage of solutions,” the post said. “We knew that if we were going to support commenting at launch, we had to do it right, and we knew that we couldn’t do it right in six weeks. In the coming weeks we will conduct a few experiments in commenting that will inform more permanent features.”

News of Betaworks buying the ailing site came out earlier this month, and there’s been speculation on whether or not the new owners can restore Digg to its former glory.

The new site will be the result of a total user-focused rebuild promised by the new Digg team, which also conducted a user survey to determine what users want.

Along with the redesign, Digg is adding moderators to help pluck noteworthy stories and a mobile focus with a new iPhone app and a new mobile site for other smartphones and tablets. Fifty-six percent of Digg users surveyed by Digg reported reading news on their phones multiple times a day, according to the blog.

The initial mockups posted on the blog show a more streamlined home page with photos attached to each headline. Digg is getting rid of the “Newsrooms,” “Newsbar,” and “Newswire” labels. Instead, the site highlights a single Digg feed with access to “Top Stories,” “Popular Stories” and “Upcoming.”

The Internet community now uses a ton of different social media to influence what stories people read, in essence doing their “digging” everywhere, and the new Digg hopes to capture that by incorporating Facebook shares and Twitter tweets into its scoring.

“So how do we surface ‘what the Internet is talking about’ when the Internet is talking beyond the walls of Digg.com? We tear down the walls,” according to the post.

Users will still be able to Digg stories, but shares and tweets will also factor into the prominence of a story. Users can see the breakdown of the new Digg score by rolling a cursor over scores.

The changes seem to bring the site further from its original look. Still to be determined, however, is whether it will be too foreign for those who loved Digg for its simplicity or will bring new users who like knowing that Digg will be drawing on a greater social sphere.


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