Digg May Release a Web-based Toolbar

A photograph uncovered on Flickr is creating speculation that Digg may be coming out with a new Web-based toolbar, in addition to its existing Firefox toolbar. The new feature is designed not only to submit your favorite content to Digg, but also to make it easier to share "Diggs" across your other social media identities. The new Digg bar will let you share content through Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and Digg Shout, and features a "Random" service that suggests other Digg stories you might like. A Digg-style Tiny URL has also been added so you don't crowd your Tweets with lengthy web addresses, and of course Digg stats will be displayed for the current web page you're visiting.

The new Digg toolbar appears similar to a feature that StumbleUpon rolled out last year. Instead of downloading a software add-on for your browser, the new toolbar creates a frame around the page you're visiting. This means that while you may be looking at a story on PCWorld, you are actually still operating within Digg's domain. As you can see from the photo, the browser displays a story on ABC News, but the web URL at the top is a shorter Digg.com address perfectly tailored for Twitter and other micro-blogging services. You will also be able to close the toolbar and visit the original page without the Digg URL.

However, the Web-based toolbar has its drawbacks. StumbleUpon's similar feature was met with mixed reviews and some confusion about how the new tool worked. The StumbleUpon interface was cumbersome, the submission process was lengthy, and it was difficult to get the Web toolbar to do what StumbleUpon's software version already did.

Then again, the process for submitting web content to Digg is already more elaborate than StumbleUpon's up-or-down voting service, so you may not see much of a difference. A web-based toolbar could be a great way to easily integrate Digg into your social media habits. But to be effective Digg's Web toolbar will have to operate just as well as its current software toolbar for Firefox. Imagine, an easy-to-use Web-based toolbar -- now, that would be something worthy of a Digg!

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