Microsoft’s Newsbot

Microsoft are testing their Newsbot service outside Europe, as a competitor to Google’s News offering.

Google News is still in beta, but has proved an invaluable service to many. It works by scraping submitted sites for news headlines and emailing out alerts. MSN Newsbot has a much busier user interface than the typically sparse Google offering.

Newsbot is powered by the new MSN Search engine and scrapes 4,800 sources for stories, but does not as yet have an email alert function. Microsoft that the site is for delivering targeted news to visitors, rather than emailing headlines. To customise content, MS use Passport and keep track of items clicked on.

The site claims: “By gathering together news from around the world and tracking the interests of users of the site, we determine which stories are most popular and suggest stories that you may want to follow based on the patterns of other users.”

Microsoft are working with Moreover on this trial and claim that the site can build up a profile of a user’s interests after only ten minutes of surfing.

MSN Newsbot

Published by

Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?