Microsoft has launched new versions of its news apps on iOS and Android, which use humans and artificial intelligence to keep readers up to date with the latest world events.
The apps will now be called Microsoft News, and offer personalised articles, opinion pieces and breaking news alerts on a range of topics to almost half a billion users in more than 140 countries.
In a blog post announcing the move, which also revealed that Microsoft News will power content on MSN.com, Windows 10, Skype, Outlook.com and Xbox, Microsoft said the apps will feature the ability to tailor interests to follow in your news feed – such as world news and personal finance; a new dark theme to make it easier to read content at night; simplified access via iOS and Android widgets and continuous reading for a smoother experience.
“The app makes it easy to get news wherever you are, focused on the topics you care about most – like having your own portable newsroom,” Rob Bennett, Editor in Chief of Microsoft News, wrote.
“Microsoft News represents the ways we keep people informed across the web, phone and PC, using our long-tested approach of curating news via publishing partnerships, human editors and AI. We work with more than 1,000 premium publishers and more than 3,000 brands in all major global markets – like USA Today, The New York Times, FOX News, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Le Monde, Die Welt, El País, BBC News, Kyodo News, and many more – to aggregate the best news, videos, photos and other content and deliver it, for free, to people all over the world.”
Microsoft uses AI to process more than 100,000 unique pieces of journalism and suggest relevant photos, before handing the articles over to one of more than 800 human editors in 50 locations across the world to curate the top stories throughout the day. This ensures that “our readers get the latest news from the best sources”, the company said.
This also allows its publishing partners to connect with new audiences and earn money for their content.
“We believe that a free, well-funded press is a critical part of our social fabric and are proud to partner with the world’s best news brands, offering a business model that gives people access, at no cost, to trustworthy news and provides a sustainable source of revenue for publishers,” Bennett added. “In just the past four years we’ve delivered more than $600 million back to our publishers, enabling them to focus on what they do best: quality journalism.”