Microsoft tests news search service

News junkies rejoice: now there’s another place to search the Internet for the hottest news stories of the moment. Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday launched a test version of a service it calls Newsbot that rivals a similar offering from Google Inc.

The goal of both is to give people an easier way to find the latest news online in an easily digestible form.Microsoft said its service aims to be a “personal newsstand” that will heed user preferences while culling data from more than 4,800 English-language news outlets.

Google’s news site scours 4,500 English-language news outlets. The Google site, which is also still officially in a test form, has been around in various iterations since late 2001.The test version of Newsbot was launched as part of MSNBC.com, a news Web site that is a partnership with Microsoft and NBC News. Justin Osmer, a product manager with Microsoft’s MSN online division, said Newsbot will be available for a limited amount of time so the company can gather feedback.

It will then be taken down and replaced by the final version.Redmond-based Microsoft earlier began testing Newsbot in international markets as part of its MSN online service, and said it also planned to launch the technology in the United States.The move is part of Microsoft’s aggressive, $100 million fight to establish a stronger foothold in the hot field of search – an area where Microsoft admits it initially missed the boat.

News source: Seattle Post Intelligencer

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