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7/23/2008
07:46 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Google + Digg?

Google is about to acquire Digg, or so says Michael Arrington of TechCrunch.

Google is about to acquire Digg, or so says Michael Arrington of TechCrunch.Google isn't saying. "We do not comment on market rumor or speculation," a Google spokesperson said via e-mail.

Given that Google owns Digg.ru, it seems safe to say that Google's spokespeople aren't saying as much as they could. And this isn't the first time talk of a union between Digg and Google has surfaced.

The deal, if real, is baffling, though.

For $200 million less than the $200 million Google is supposedly prepared to offer, Google could install Pligg, open-source software that allows users to build Web sites with Digg-style voting. Add a few Google engineers to make Pligg scale and Google saves a nice chunk of change.

So the deal is about buying the Digg community rather than Digg's technology.

The question is what Google would do with Digg? It might just leave Digg as a standalone property, like YouTube. Certainly, Digg drives a lot of traffic and Google never has enough of that.

The Google property that's most closely related to Digg is Google News. As I see it, Digg and Google News go together like oil and water. It's already odd enough that a select group of people are allowed to comment on Google News while others aren't. I hope Google News continues to rely on an algorithm rather than user votes.

A more interesting scenario would be integrating Digg with iGoogle. There's already a Digg widget for iGoogle and Google might, by acquiring Digg, be able to make social interaction and personalization more unified. There's certainly more that could be done to make Google Accounts resemble social network profiles.

Personally, I'd like to see Diebold buy Digg and then start skewing users' votes.

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