Microsoft launches news aggregator

April 17, 2008 | 06:49

Tags: #aggregation #google-news #live #live-search #search

Companies: #google #microsoft

Microsoft clearly hasn't given up on its attempts to take on the might of Google, and its latest assault on everyone's favourite data warehouse is the launch of a news aggregation service.

Although it's not Microsoft's first foray into news aggregation services – the company previously ran the Microsoft Network Newsbot, which appears to have been given its marching orders since this new service was launched – it's a clear overhaul of what was previously available, and a definite attempt to compete with the Google News service.

The clean interface – some might call it 'sparse', but I'll be kind for now – integrates into Microsoft's Live Search engine as a 'News' tab and is immediately accessible should you want to give it a trial run.

The aggregator pulls data from fewer sources than Google's service, but there's still plenty to keep you in reading matter for a while - including technical news sites if you're not too bothered by 'mainstream' stories. The search is pretty good at finding the stories you're interested in, although you'd expect something as simple as that to work pretty well given how long the main Live Search site has been running.

According to CNET US users are treated to local news stories via geolocation of their IP address, but this doesn't appear to be available to us poor peasants across the pond as yet. Another feature mentioned by CNET which I was unable to spot was an orange banner across the top of the page which offers 'breaking' stories from MSNBC. In fact, many of the advanced features mentioned in the article just don't seem available to UK users, unless the site is just sniffy about my choice of browser.

This update to Live Search appears to have been completely without fanfare, with no mention of the aggregation service on the official blog. Whether this is pending to company signing up a few more news sources and implementing some of the neat features US users get for the rest of the world, I don't know. It would be nice for the team to comment on the service, however – as it stands, very few people are likely to even know it exists.

Even if the team gets news of the new feature out, it's unlikely to tempt many away from Google's popular News service. With plenty of configurable alerts and various customisable options available on the Google service, Live Search News has quite a way to go before it can be considered a real competitor.

Any Google News users here tempted to give Microsoft's service a try, or should the software giant just give up on trying to beat Google at its own game? Let us know in the forums.
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