July 27, 2004 6:02 AM PDT

Google News faces Microsoft rival

Microsoft on Tuesday began testing a new online news aggregation service, as part of its growing search rivalry with Google.

In conjunction with its own MSNBC news site, the software giant is creating a page dubbed "Newsbot" that will draw news headlines from more than 4,800 other sites, in a manner similar to the Google News service.

The page will let visitors create their own customized news feeds that are powered by MSN's new search technology, the company said. (Google News offers something similar, but it calls them customized alerts.)

"By providing a variety of ways to personalize the service, people have more control over how and where they get their news," Yusef Mehdi, corporate vice president of MSN Information Services and Merchant Platform, said in a statement. "We're confident (this) will convince people to return every day, much like a neighborhood newsstand."

Although news aggregation services have been a feature of portal sites such as Yahoo since the mid-1990s, the rise of automatic headline services that are based on Web search technology has added new importance to an old idea.

Google's news service has drawn millions of people eager for up-to-the-minute headlines, while worrying some news executives who fear that readers will visit aggregation sites instead of the original publications' home pages.

Microsoft has been increasingly vocal about its goal of recapturing some of Google's momentum in search and related technologies. It launched a new version of its MSN search tool last month, and is working internally on more advanced search tools capable of scouring PCs and e-mail folders as well as Web sites.

The initial version of the Newsbot site is a test that's aimed at gauging surfers' reactions, the company said. A final version will be relaunched after the test period.

Microsoft has been testing a similar aggregation service in Europe since late 2003.


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Great Technology
Google News is a great service, and having Miscrosoft as a competitor can only benefit consumers.

Now... add in a web site monitoring program like URLy Warning (www.urlywarning.net), and you have instant news alerts that pop-up on your desktop for ANY topic you choose. Now THAT is cool.
Posted by applian (13 comments )
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What - this is nothing!
I'll hedge my bets on RSS and Atom aggregators, more power to the user I think. MS is peddling existing technology in a custom wraper, again.

MS is getting old and slow. I mean look at Internet Explorer, can't believe most people still use that aged technology full of security holes!! And, that there are fools that sign up for MSN on top of their ISP!! Unbelievable - a fool born every half second!

Time for the next generation
Posted by dirk128 (31 comments )
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Always copying, never inventing.
M$ has no compunctions about copying and competing
which a growing innovative company that's just a
fraction of its size. But then, thats their modus operandi; and it has proved to be effective over the years.
Posted by (23 comments )
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Google copies, too
I'm no Microsoft fan, but I grow tired of these partisan, troll-like attacks against Microsoft (or other companies, for that matter). Google does not always innovate. In fact, it copies quite often. That's the nature of competition. Google News is basically a copycat of Moreover Technologies news aggregation technology and Yahoo! News. Buying Picasa allowed them to compete with Yahoo! Photos. The list goes on.

All companies copy each other to a certain extent. It's not a bad thing.

The only company that deserves these partisan attacks and sniping is SCO.

Posted by dmehus (30 comments )
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Google News is Bad
Google news (the tech section) must be hand picked IMO. If they are pulling all of their news from many sources then how on earth would 10% (or more sometimes) of it be about the greatest drama queen Apple? Common sense says maybe 1% of it would be. I gave up on Google news a while back and will never go back. When I want tech news I was real world news - not drama queen stories.
Posted by marlow714 (29 comments )
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