MSN Debuts Newsbot Test

The Internet may have forever changed how the world gets its morning news, but MSNBC and Microsoft's MSN business unit are determined to resurrect the newsstand. Starting today, customers can sign up for a beta of the MSNBC Newsbot – an expansive online news service powered by MSN search technology.

The MSNBC Newsbot allows customers to sift through more than 4,800 worldwide news sources; although, not without a personal touch. In order to suit individual tastes, the Newsbot uses cookies to suggest news stories that a user may be interested in viewing based upon their reading habits.

The service's recommended reading also includes breaking news on the hour. Headlines are arranged into seven different categories and are accompanied by a link to the complete text of the article.

Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of MSN Information Services and Merchant Platform commented on Newsbot test, saying, "We've put the strongest assets of MSN and NBC News to work for consumers with Newsbot, the only automatically personalized news-search service on the Web."

"By providing a variety of ways to personalize the service, people have more control over how and where they get their news – control they can't get anywhere else on the Web, which we're confident will convince people to return every day, much like a neighborhood newsstand," said Mehdi.

During his March keynote address at the Microsoft Strategic Account Summit, Mehdi broached the topic of three upcoming news services: MSN Newsbot, MSN Blogbot and MSN Answerbot.

MSN Blogbot spiders the Net for Web logs and then produces relevant search results in response to customers' search queries. Redmond is billing Blogbot as a first-of-its-kind service; nonetheless, services including Blogdex, Blogdigger, and BlogoSphere function in much the same way.

MSN will officially launch Newsbot and Blogbot by the end of this year, while the development of Answerbot -- a natural language interface -- is expected to trail behind the rest.

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