Digg's New iPhone App Goes Live

Digg iphone app logoSocial voting site Digg has just released their new iPhone app, and they’ve used their own platform to do so. The Digg link takes you to the official iTunes Digg app page, where you can download the app, or you can install directly from your iPhone. The free Digg iPhone app currently functions mostly as a story browser for now, lacking any of the social graph features of the website version.

The app lets you browse text, image and video submissions from the Digg site. At least, upon viewing a story item with an embedded YouTube video, I was able to play the video. (You may need to install the YouTube app for iPhone, if you haven’t already.) Here’s a quick summary of the features, interface, and user experience:

snapshot: Digg iPhone app screens

  • Story items are available through three application tabs on the bottom, labeled Top, Recent and Upcoming, which mimics the Digg site, in concept if not appearance.
  • Once you view a Digg story item, it is grayed out to save you from duplicate viewing — though you still have access to the story.
  • To save stories to a folder or to vote, comment or thumb up/down other comments, you need to login with your Digg account. Oddly, to get to the sign in screen, you have to go backwards in the user interface, first tapping the “Topics” button (top left), then the “Settings” button (also top left). Now you can sign in with your Digg account. If you don’t have an account, you can sign up from the iPhone app. Another oddity is that if you login in from the app, you get a prompt saying “Digg iPhone application wants to link to your Digg account.” Of course it does; that’s why I just “signed in.” Why prompt for approval if I’ve already indicated I want to sign in?
  • From the main item list screens (Top, Recent, Upcoming), you tap an item to enter the story view screen. Unfortuantely, the story view screen is annoyingly cluttered up because of the “shop.digg.com” banner stretching across the screen and dividing the page vertically. Seriously, get rid of that branding and put it somewhere less obtrusive, in a smaller form.
  • To see story details screen, tap on the comment icon at the top right of the story view screen. The story detail screen shows a summary of the item and three tabs: Top Comments, All Comments and Related Stories. The “Top Comments” are displayed by default on the story detail screen.
  • Stories can be shared using email, Twitter and Facebook. The Twitter share requires your username and password to be entered. The Facebook option uses FB Connect mobile, but that does require an initial entry of your FB email and password. You can also copy the URL of the story you’re browsing to the iPhone clipboard.
  • Suggestions in the comments of the Digg story for this app indicate that it might not work on an iPhone Touch, though there are no further explanations. You do need to be running iPhone OS 3.1+, and since it costs US$10 each time you want to upgrade the OS on the Touch, it’s possible these commenters are running an older version.

Overall, it’s an easy to use app, but it’s sorely lacking access to any social graph features relating to your Digg friends. (Hopefully something that’ll be addressed in future editions.) Also, while you can search for stories, you cannot submit any at the moment, though I’m personally not sure I’d want to, from an iPhone. On an iPad, you could just do it from a browser.

Do you use Digg? Have you tried out the new Digg iPhone app? What are your thoughts on it? Do you think you’ll use Digg more or less now? SocialTimes Editor Nick O’Neill has previously pondered whether Digg was becoming irrelevant, however they are planning a major redesign of how the site functions, and this app might help bring back inactive users as well bring in new ones. Still, power users are going to want social graph features sooner rather than later.