Google outsourcing comments to Digg?

Social networks are the big thing, it seems. Everyone wants to be in the middle of the people, piggybacking and collecting the output of our daily dramas and conversations. In addition to sites like Facebook and Myspace, other services are seeking to insert themselves into the middle of our online social lives in order to build their own networks. Of course, they do this by creating a compelling product and removing friction for users, but there are significant advantages to bringing large numbers of people to your product. With people comes traffic and advertising revenues and other network effects. While Facebook and Myspace are interesting anthropologically-speaking (boy, has dating changed), I have been more interested lately in some of the companies trying to stake out the high-value ground by reaching out to the rest of the web, services like Disqus or IntenseDebate, that effectively centralize blog commenting by connecting any blog that uses their service into one larger network.

With all the rumors about Google acquiring Digg, the web’s perpetual frat party, and with Google experimenting with Digg-like features in its search results, I was surprised to notice how the Official Google Reader Blog outsources its commenting system to Digg. I don’t recall Google supporting a third party service quite like this before. Do they use other web services they do not own?

Official Google Reader Blog

Each of the official Google blogs look pretty different from one another in terms of whether comments or trackbacks are enabled, so maybe each project manager gets to decide how they connect to other services, as well. Google Reader and Digg share some things functionally, in terms of providing a mechanism to collect valuable social data on what people are interested in (what gets the most stars and diggs, what is shared the most), which would naturally lead to more personalized and relevant search. Also, by including a Digg commenting link, the Google Reader Blog provides a sure-fired way to generate more attention to what improvements they’re making. The more high profile the project, the more likely to have Digg comment links?

Official Google Mobile Blog

Other official Google blogs like the Google Webmaster Central Blog, and the Google Mobile Blog support the usual Blogger commenting system. I don’t know if it means anything, but it does bear notice.

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