Microsoft has developed a new social and news reading application, called msnNOW, aiming to give its massive 522 million strong global user base a place to see what’s hot, and trending on their social, and news streams. msnNOW will be accessible on Facebook, on the Web at now.msn.com, and as a mobile website. For now, the trends and social searches are only limited to the U.S., but should go international soon.
The msnNOW content will be culled by algorithms from standard Facebook and Twitter social search feeds, as well as Bing, and MSNBC’s BreakingNews.com. A further team of 20 editors will select the top trending topics, and display them with “short, pithy headlines” and 100-word descriptions as ‘What’s Trending’ on the msnNOW homepage, which also highlights the ‘Biggest Movers’, and has topic-based tabs.
MSN General Manager Bob Visse, described the service as a “river of real-time content,” with the demo targetting the 25-40 age group, using hot trending topics and an attractive image-based interface to catch the attention of the “always socially connected consumer who lives an online lifestyle for information gathering and seeking.” The algorithmically and editorially curated topics are meant to be conversation starters, and will feature minimal filtering, lightly limiting sensitive content.
Sharing will be possible on the web site, and the msnNOW Facebook social reader app, with opportunities to comment. For now, msnNOW will not feature Google integration, however, Microsoft is apparently open to it at a future date, when the still new social network’s volumes increase. Accessible on the mobile web, msnNOW will feature a touch-based interface, with easy swipes. It will not be available as an app for Windows Phone in the near future. Already featuring a component-like design, msnNOW will be developed into a Metro-style UI interface at some point. While the site's clean interface and real-time updates do make for some interesting web-time, we wonder just how well this will translate internationally.