Redmond, Washington — The world’s leading software maker is diving deeply into one of the Internet’s hottest trends–Social Media. On Wednesday night, the software giant launched a new MSN service called msnNOW, which the company claims promises to ‘taps the latest buzz’ from social media feeds including Facebook and Twitter.
According to the company, the new service msnNOW, taps into feeds from Facebook and Twitter to garner the most shared news from the Web, giving users a real-time snapshot of the national conversation.
Microsoft’s new msnNOW service tracks the latest buzz on the Web. (Credit: Microsoft)
Moving forward, this latest venture is actually based on two modules. According to MSN General Manager Bob Visse, the new service adopts algorithms devised by Microsoft to scour Facebook, Twitter, Bing, and about a team of 20 editors will monitor the data, typing up blurbs, in 100 words or less, describing the stories and posting the links. Besides, using a new Demand Dashboard to gauge the velocity and volume of trending topics among users in real time across various social media websites and BreakingNews.com (a joint MSN/NBC venture).
“We are collecting the hottest, socially trending conversations on the Web and surfacing them,” said Visse.
Stories that are trending will be showcased on msnNOW in a constantly updating “Biggest Movers” box. In addition, the editors will select topics and stories from among those social (and search) trends and annotate the pieces, correcting false information in about 100 words.
So if a narrative they know to be false is trending–say, inaccurate reports of a celebrity’s demise–they will note that but still post the links that are being widely shared. They will also lightly sanitize the feed, editing out the most lurid and offensive content.
Moreover, it appears that MSNNow engages an Instapaper-like approach to trolling the Web, but with a focus on what users of its Bing search engine are actually searching for. At the upper left of the page, a counter constantly monitors Bing searches and social media updates.
“Every minute of the day, people are constantly searching, sharing, tweeting and posting content, MsnNOW said in an explanatory note. It is pretty difficult for people to know what others are really talking about; so every few minutes we look back at the last 24 hours to tally, sort and analyze millions of Bing searches and social updates. We filter through all this data, toss out the boring, the lame, the uninteresting–and then look for patterns to emerge. Our advanced technology detects breaking trends as they happen in real time–so you will find stories on msnNOW that you will find nowhere else. Sure, we will cover some big stories, but with a unique social angle. We think this new blend of algorithms and editorial is the perfect way to find the stories that matter now.
According to the Redmond company, MSN currently enjoys a reported 125 million monthly visitors, with 75 million visiting the MSN portal homepage each month, msnNOW will not take over that hot destination. Visse explained that MSN is targeting a younger “always socially connected consumer who lives an online lifestyle for information gathering and seeking.” That may mean that some of the trending content will be a little edgier than what you traditionally see on the portal. It is all designed to start a conversation. Even the design has the younger demo in mind. It is image-centric, with what Visse calls “short, terse headlines.”
Visse describes the msnNOW project as a “transformative experience for MSN.” Even so, the design is still decidedly MSN-centric across all platforms. Visse contends that while msnNOW is not yet a Metro design (the cubist-look Microsoft is displaying across virtually all of its interfaces), msnNOW’s “component-like design is not a big leap to get a Metro-like design.”
Nevertheless, as of now Microsoft has no plans to launch an msnNOW app for Windows Phone or any other mobile operating system. The service is presently available only in the United States.
Readers can also follow MsnNOW on Facebook, or via its Twitter feed.