Microsoft launched its foray into social and search-powered news aggregation, msnNOW. According to the site’s description, “msnNOW is a new way to stay current on the trends people are talking about, searching for, and sharing the most.”
The site uses realtime data from Twitter updates, Facebook posts, YouTube activity, Breaking News and Bing searches to find patterns and tally what’s trending. Top stories are featured in a slider, and the rest of the stories are shown in a grid-like display (think Newser, but cleaner) in reverse chronological order. They summarize those top trending stories in 100 words or less, and snow you an icon to indicate where that trending story originated. If a story originated on Twitter, you see the top tweets about the topic displayed at the top of the article.
A bar across the top of the site tells you exactly how many updates and searches are being analyzed (at this particular moment, I’m seeing: “Analyzing170,310,317 Bing searches and10,659,725 social updates.” There’s also a “biggest movers” box across the top of the page that serves as a realtime leader board for trending topics. According to msnNOW’s about page:
Biggest Movers displays keywords that are trending. The results are determined by a computer algorithm, displayed automatically and not filtered. At times, hoaxes, rumors and false information trend on the Internet. Biggest Movers still shows you this information because it is trending online. It does not identify or filter out the false information. The results are updated every five minutes, so you can click the arrows to look back over the past two hours and see how trends change.
Clicking on a keyword within the Biggest Movers box takes you to a page that displays the latest Bing News results and social media updates about that particular topic. For an example, see the trending page for “Jeremy Lin shoe.“
In your newsroom, msnNOW can serve as a great tool for staying up-to-date on trending stories that might be of interest to your readers.