A new Web app from Microsoft can bring life to your Web searches by using them to build customizable news-oriented Web albums.
Demoed at Le Web conference last week, Microsoft's Montage can take virtually any topic or keyword that you enter and create a Web page filled with articles and photographs grabbed from news sites, Twitter, YouTube, and a variety of other sources. You can customize your page with different layouts and change each section of the page to point to specific sources of information. When you're done, you can save your page and publish it or share it with other people.
To get started with Montage, just type a word or phrase in the Create field, such as Steve Jobs. In response, the app creates a page pulling together the latest news stores and photos of the Apple chief. You can accept the default layout or try different layouts to play with the rows and columns. After you accept the layout you like, you can customize each specific section or widget on the page by removing it, tweaking its own layout, or changing the news source.
Montage lets you pick content from several sources, including news stories, RSS Feeds, Twitter timelines, images, and YouTube videos. You can even add your own text to a section. Each section then links to the original news source so you can read the full story. The content in each section can remain static by pointing to specific news stores or change dynamically by pointing to Twitter feeds.
Once you've finished designing your page, you can save it to your own "My Montage" page, publish it to the public Montage gallery, and share it via Facebook or Twitter. You can also search for and browse pages created by other people at the gallery.
Montage was designed at Microsoft's Fuse Labs, a new initiative launched last year to focus on social computing projects.