Google has released a gadget called What's Popular for iGoogle. You may draw some connections between it and a certain site called Digg, and some are speculating that it is even an indication of a broader plan from Google to creep into Digg territory. What would a Google-owned version of Digg mean to you?
Google says the What's Popular gadget uses algorithms to find interesting content from a combination of user submissions and trends in aggregated user activity across a variety of Google services, like YouTube and Google Reader.
Users can directly submit URLs, and if they become popular, they can rise to the top of the list. You can associate your Google user name with your submissions, and edit titles and descriptions. You can also keep track of what you have submitted in the "My Adds" section. Yep, that sounds about like Digg.
What Happens if Google Launches it's Own Digg?
Let's not get ahead of ourselves though. For one, this is only a gadget right now, and there is no indication that getting your content ranked in it will have any effect whatsoever in getting your content ranked in Google itself. But if Google turned this into a full-fledged site, would it be out of the realm of possibility for popular content to appear in Google's universal search results, similar to say, YouTube, which actually has been known to improve search engine rankings? There's also the social media leads to links scenario.
There has long been chatter about "what if Google bought Digg?"
"If you can’t beat them (or don’t feel like putting out the cash to acquire them), then join them," Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal comments about the service.
It is certainly interesting to think about Google running its own version of Digg while seemingly getting more social all around. Recently they have added the ability for Google profiles to be linked to vanity URLs, and have them show up in search results. Friend Connect of course is out there, and a number of other social functions are already residing within your Google account.
Google's whole foray into social media is quite fascinating to me as it unfolds almost from the inside out without many people realizing it is happening. If you ask me, Google already has a leg or two up on other social networks too as it holds the largest brand on the web, and obviously search market share, and searches begin a lot of web sessions, not even taking into consideration the number of people who use Google as their homepage.
Do you think Google will take the What's Popular gadget concept and turn it into a Digg-like site?