At last some news from Microsoft that has nothing to do with acquiring Yahoo! The Live Search team at Microsoft announced that they have made several modifications to their News Search format. Now the information will be categorized into separate sub headings and the news results page has also been given a facelift.
Live News Search originally served as a plain search service that focused on news stories. The Live News Search homepage contained no more than a search box and a short list of popular current news searches. However, since the growth in popularity of Google News as a news portal, Microsoft has decided to expand the capabilities of their News Search site.
News stories will now get categorised into ten sub-topics in the USA. These are: Top Stories, World, U.S., Local, Business, Politics, Entertainment, Sports, SciTech and Health. The updated version is not currently available to UK users.
Several new features have been added to the News search service to satisfy customer needs and to improve the overall user experience. Some of the highlights are:
- Aggregated news
Users can now browse through the latest headlines in a manner similar to that on Google News. Breaking news is placed prominently so that users are always informed of the latest developments. Stories will be grouped according to categories.
Local news will be presented across all states in the U.S.A. When the update is rolled out in Europe, the local news feature will provide information specific to individual countries.
Various forms of multimedia including video and images will be accessible through smart-motion thumbnails, so that visitors can read the headlines and watch video footage at the same time.
In effect, the news search page will now contain local, national and international news along with multimedia all at once. For those interested in further details, they can either click ‘more on this story’ or query a topic in the search box. The news search results can also be filtered according to the user’s location and by source.
Suggestions on related topics will also be offered. Articles will be grouped by date. Related videos will be directly available. Further innovations such as the inclusion of blogs are in the planning stages. RSS support is also planned in the near future.
Coverage will also be improved drastically, as Live News will now be powered with information from over 2,000 sources as against only about a 100 in the past.