The New York Times sells Digg to Google

We've heard Google's Marissa Mayer is pushing hard for the company to acquire Digg. Without mentioning the social news site once, a Google News takedown in the New York Times neatly makes her case. Noting that it took Google News an hour longer than everyone else to report Tim Russert's death, the Times reports that Google News's traffic growth has been equally as sluggish:

With 11.4 million users in May, Google News ranked No. 8 among news sites, far behind Yahoo News, which was No. 1 with 35.8 million visitors, according to Nielsen Online. Its growth rate of 10 percent over the last two years is far slower than those of most other large news Web sites. In the last two years, second-ranked MSNBC.com grew by 42 percent, adding 10.4 million users. Traffic at CNN.com and nytimes.com grew even faster.

The Times even ropes in a few professorial types to rip on the few changes to Google News. “I’ve actually been surprised at how little it has evolved, at least on the surface,” said one. “I’m guessing that Google isn’t so sure what to do with it.”