Microsoft has just announced the launch of Microsoft News, an app that is really the revamp of its MSN News app. The revamped service is rolling out to users on Windows 10, Android, iOS and web. The company took to its official Windows Blog to share details about this new app. According to the blog post, the company will use its “long-tested approach” that includes curating news with the help of partnerships with news publishers, human editors, and AI. The company has been working with “more than a thousand premium publishers and more than 3,000 brands” in markets across the globe.
Some of these publishers include the likes of The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Guardian, BBC News, and more. The core functionality of the app will remain same where users can customize their experience by selecting the topics that they are interested in or “interests” that appeal to them in the new Microsoft News app. Moving to the mobile apps, the company stated that it has “completely redesigned” its Android and iOS apps. This move is likely to counter the recent revamp of its products focusing on News by Google and Apple.
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There are a number of new features in the new app including upgrades to how the user can personalize the app, set breaking news alerts, dark mode theme for improved night-time reading, simplified access with integration to iOS and Android widgets, and continuous reading.
The company also revealed some details on how it uses human editors and AI to curate news. According to the blog post, AI scans all the content as it arrives and processes it to understand the freshness, topic type, opinion potential popularity, and category of the new. Once that is done then the categorized and classified content is given to the human editors.
Algorithms “suggest appropriate photos” that editors can pair with the content to ensure that the final package is interactive and engrossing. After the photos are paired, editors curate the top stories throughout the day across a number of topics and categories to present news from sources known for their quality. There are about 800 editors spread across 50 locations across the world including editorial newsrooms that serve multiple regions.
Microsoft also pointed out that it carefully composes the news “to present multiple sides of a story” along with a conscious effort to curate a “wide variety of opinion pieces”. It also believes that “thoughtful opinion pieces” help readers better understand the news. One thing to note here is that Microsoft “clearly” marks such pieces while presenting them to the readers.
In addition to providing news to its users, Microsoft emphasized on its efforts to support the publishing ecosystem by giving them a business model that “provides a sustainable source of revenue”. The company added that it has given back more than $600 million as revenue to the publishers to ensure that they can focus on quality journalism without worrying about funds.