TechCrunch's Michael Arrington has revived his rumor that Google is negotiating to buy Digg for $200 million and tuck it into Google News, a rumor that has been boomeranging since he first wrote about it in March.
Digg, a site that lets users load stories and vote on them in a user-generated popularity contest, has millions of users. Google would love to get its hands on them to put ads in front of them, though I suspect most Digg users already happen to be Google users, so how many new people it would add is less certain.
They're kind of cut from the same Web 2.0 cloth. In fact, Digg is to content tagging what YouTube is to video sharing, so why Google would want it makes perfect sense.
What troubles me is the seemingly redundant move Google is making by "bucket testing" Digg-like features, which, interestingly enough, Arrington wrote about July 14. Here is a video he sourced from Tatango Chief Technology Officer Adrian Pike that demos them in action.
Why bother if you're going to grab and gulp Digg for Google News? The only thing I can think of is it is a precautionary step just in case Microsoft poaches Digg from Google. Google Operating System has a fine post on why Google News + Digg doesn't add up.
Now that would make the search war interesting! Microsoft already sells Digg's ads. My guess is it will come down to, first, which company is the better fit for Digg, and second, price.
Digg fits way better with Google's current offerings and would benefit from the search giant's massively scaled architecture. Microsoft is still beyond the eight ball on all Internet counts; getting Digg would be a nice PR boost, but a relative drop in the bucket for Microsoft in the broader search market.
My colleague Jeff Burt points to Digg as a way to help Google build out its social networking platform, but how this would happen is unclear. Digg is simply a tagging tool.
Google seems to want to tuck Digg into Google News, presumably to improve the way results are displayed through the Digg voting process. Could Digg be used to boost the OpenSocial effort Google supports? I'm not so sure.
Some people have said they don't want Google to get Digg because they don't want Google running the Internet. For those people I have bad news: Google already runs the Internet.
Take into account its 70 percent search share in the United States, its corresponding influence over how pages get ranked, not to mention its $17 billion a year in online ad revenues, and Google is the dominant Internet player.
Digg would only enhance its position.