With the clock ticking down to the July 1 demise of Google Reader, Digg has promised that a beta version of its Reader alternative will launch just in time.
The beta will arrive sometime in June, Digg said in a blog post. However, Reader refugees hoping for a free ride are in for some bad news: Digg seems likely to charge for the product in some way.
Citing a survey of 8,600 people who have expressed interest in the Digg's Reader replacement, Digg says 40 percent would be willing to pay. The company doesn't seem keen on launching a free product, noting that they "tend to disappear, leaving users in a lurch."
"We need to build a product that people can rely on and trust will always be there for them," Digg's blog post said. "We're not sure how pricing might work, but we do know that we'd like our users to be our customers, not our product."
Digg also posted some other findings from its survey, hinting at potential features for its reader.
For instance, 75 percent of respondents said they share links via email, followed by roughly 55 percent for Facebook and Twitter. "It almost goes without saying that our reader will include seamless sharing to all these services," Digg wrote. The company said it plans to support "read-it-later" services, such as Pocket, Instapaper, and Evernote.
As for social features, Digg said they weren't a top priority for respondents. Digg won't have social features in place for launch, but ultimately wants to include them. (This may be a touchy subject for Google Reader veterans, who seethed when Google replaced the service's built-in social features with Google+ in 2011.)
From the sound of it, Digg's RSS concoction won't be a straightforward Reader replacement. But with possible support for social sharing and "read-it-later" services, it could be a close competitor to Feedly, which TechHive's Evan Dashevsky adored more than other alternatives.
What could Digg add that would make its own reader worth paying for? Perhaps we'll find out in a month or so.