As some of you may have noticed, MSN Newsbot, our personalized news aggregator, has undergone some changes as a part of the MSN Search launch. The UI is now integrated with the search product. In the US this means moving easily between Newsbot Search and our partner MSNBC. For all our international markets Newsbot is wholly integrated into Search.
Our layout now features more top stories (4) at the top of the page plus image highlights from different sections. Readers now get a broader picture of the news at a single glance. To throw back the curtain a little more we’ve also added a page listing all of the news publishers included in our scan.
Another change we are excited about is the ‘similar coverage’ feature. As you may know, many news sites publish wire service stories, like those from The Associated Press. Since the same story is republished on multiple sites the reader does not gain by having these presented repeatedly. Newsbot now groups these together with a single summary and allows the reader to select the site where they want to read the full version. We hope readers will find this more convenient while exposing more unique coverage.
A smaller change that will appeal to photo fans is the smart link to ‘Similar stories’. It now says ‘Photos & similar stories’ when Newsbot has found photos matching a story. After clicking the link users will find a restyled photo filmstrip with the same high-quality photo collection.
In addition to the new UI features, the Newsbot team has been working hard on ways to get the important stories on the page faster and adding three new markets: Australia and both Canada (English & French). Watch for them to be more broadly released in coming weeks.
Thanks for all the great feedback on MSN Newsbot, we have been listening!