Kevin Rose — looking a bit Big Brothery on a webcast to the stage at Next Web in Amsterdam — reveals that Digg is working on expanding to reviews of restaurants, products, service, images and is also working on improved means of discovery. Wherever there is “an overabundance of information” that could benefit from collaborative filtering, Rose says, Digg will be there.
Beware, newspapers, beware. Just as you all are trying to figure out ways to get people to share what they know about local restaurants, businesses, and such — an effort that supposedly has gone on for years but has yielded bupkis in results — in swoops Digg with the infrastructure to possibly make it happen. If I can Digg news, the logic goes, why anything in life, including these local businesses?
Back when I tried to get people to come in to local sites to review restaurants — using the best we had at the time, forum software — I remember the ad guys getting all hinky about bad reviews from the people. At one point, I suggested that the only real value was in recommending things so we provide the means for people to vote in favor of establishments. It was just a memo. Now here comes Digg, the recommendation engine.
Could newspapers and other local news organizations do this on their own> Or will Digg be the default infrastructure? Should newspapers and Digg consider working together? I don’t know yet. But we all know that capturing what the public knows about local businesses is a holy grail waiting to be uncovered.
Of course, this isn’t just about local. Could digging start to replace Consumer Reports? Don’t know again. Results there could be skewed by sample size (the more-often-used products will get voted on more often; a self-fulfilling result, perhaps); but put against the size of a product’s universe, it could be beneficial to see what proportion — rather than raw totals — of users vote up or down a product.
The Digg system is also best, so far, at currency: the army finds the latest. Will it work as well with more data-base-y pools of knowledge? I’m not sure. But you can bet that Digg will try.