The Associated Press has just launched a new application designed for Windows Mobile devices called AP Mobile. Soon to be made available in the Windows Phone Marketplace, the new application offers news from 1100+ local providers across 50 categories including top news, business, politics, world, sports, celebrity, travel, and more.
The topics appear across the top of the application and you can swipe through them using your finger. You can configure the app to just display the categories you care about, too, if you don’t want to see them all. News items feature an image and headline which you can tap to read full story.
Also included are social networking features that let you share the news on Twitter or Facebook or save the link to your Delicious bookmarking account. You can email stories, too, if you would rather share privately.
Some users are already seeing the app listed under the “News and Weather” section of the marketplace while others (like myself) haven’t seen it show up yet. I imagine that it’s simply a case of the app being rolled out in stages, so it should be there for you soon if it isn’t just yet.
This summer, in an effort to help save the struggling newspaper industry, the Newspaper Association of America asked for ideas from companies who had experience in helping online publishers monetize digital content. Among the submissions, which included ideas about content management systems from Oracle and IBM, Microsoft (PDF link) submitted an idea about a next-generation newspaper reader. Interestingly enough, the concept looked a lot the popular third-party Twitter client, TweetDeck as many bloggers noted.
However, the desktop software application was actually built by a company called Sobees. (You may remember hearing about them here on Channel 10, thanks to several of our previous posts.) Microsoft had worked in conjunction with Sobees to develop the user interface as a way to demonstrate the company’s ideas about content aggregation and monetization.
According to the proposal, the software aimed to demonstrate the following concepts:
- contextual awareness
- interactivity and user participation
- anywhere access
- cross-platform/cross-device access
- semantic search and navigation
- advertising-based monetization
Additionally, the media content included in this next-gen newspaper could also generate revenue through sales of “packages” or “parts.” The packages would be like a TV channel or newspaper today – meaning, a lot of different content from one main provider – and the parts would be more like an RSS feed containing individual articles.
A recent post on the Windows Vista Blog provides info on a great new resource for Media Center PC users just in time for the vice-presidential debates tonight: Election News! Under the TV + Movies section in Media Center, you’ll now see a new title called MSNBC News Beta. This title will be available to Vista Home Premium and Ultimate users in the U.S. and Canada.
Here, you’ll find a selection of MSNBC’s top stories and weather listings, including Editor’s Picks and Most Popular videos. Under the Politics section, there’s a category for “Decision ‘08” where videos pertaining to the current U.S. Presidential elections will be displayed. As you browse through the videos, you may notice a plus sign “+” appears when you click on a video. Using this plus sign, you can create your own custom news video playlist which you can play back any time you want. There’s nothing to download to start using this new feature so you can simply begin using it the next time you run Media Center.
A new Facebook application called Zine is an online magazine of articles and videos that you can add to your Facebook profile. You can completely customize the magazine so you only see the topics that are interesting to you, whether that's News, Sports, Entertainment, Lifestyle, or anything else. Each main category is further divided into sub-categories that allow you to further customize your Zine. For example, you can choose to see just NFL news from the Sports category or just U.S. News and Politics from the News category, and so on. Your Zine is then loaded up for you, with each main category available as a tab at the top which you can click on to easily move through the content.
One thing I noticed right off the bat was that there was no "technology" news section listed. However, there is a feature called "My Topics," which lets you add the latest news stories for specific topics. For example, you could create a custom topic called "Olympics." I, of course, added a topic called "Twitter." I was happy to see a bunch of articles returned on the subject from big news sources like the NY Times, News.com, SFGate, and, of course MSN.com, which helps power this app.
When browsing through the categories, you can click "Prev" and "Next" buttons to scroll through the virtual pages or click "Expand" to have a particular section spread out across the page. You can also send a story to a friend or post it to your Facebook profile.
With all the talk of how newspapers and other print media are fading businesses, Zine stands out as a useful "new media" kind of way to get your daily news...right there in Facebook.
A Live Search powered Facebook app called Search Share lets you search for all kinds of information that you can then share with your Facebook friends. Results for Search Share can include videos, images, web pages, news, and more. But Search Share isn't just a way to see traditional search engine results within Facebook, you can also preview the content and select the results you want via drag-and-drop in order to share them with your friends.
The items you want to share are dropped into a box at the top of the app and you can then choose to email those items to a friend or post them to your feed. What's really wild is that when you hover your mouse over a thumbnail of a video, it automatically starts playing. I wasn't expecting that - I figured you would have to go off site to watch videos, but it's all right there in Facebook.
On the main Search Share page, some interesting topics are already listed for you like Today's Hot Topics. For example, today's #1 topic is "polar bear status" (how sad!). There are also boxes showing Top Celebrities, Words of the Day, Your Friends' Latest Searches, and Your Saved Search History.
Search Share is somewhat similar to Zine, in that it facilitates you being able to share various items with friends, but unlike Zine, it's more of a tool that can be used as needed instead of an online digital magazine.
For eco-warriors and environmentalists, there's a new channel on MSN that will be of interest: MSN Environment. On this site, you can read news and blogs, watch videos, get eco-friendly tips, plus get access to tools like a carbon calculator and a water usage meter. The site is only on MSN UK (for the U.S., we have MSN Green instead), but there are certainly features on the site that will appeal to everyone interested in these issues.
If you want to follow various sections of MSN Environment, there are several RSS feeds to choose from, including:
- Environment Blog: Matthew Yeomans is the co-founder of Custom Communication an online media consultancy that provides environmental reporting. He reports for MSN on The Climate Report blog.
- Environment Features: All the feature stories from MSN Environment Editor including analysis.
- Environment Photos: All the photo stories from MSN Environment Editor including analysis.
- Environment News: Updated throughout the day with breaking and feature news stories
- Environment Videos: Stand alone features from VideoJug
- Green Living : Reports on Green Living
The Live Search team has just launched a new feature for finding news on the web: Live Search News. Here, you can find the latest news stories, categorized as "Top Stories," "World," "U.S.," "Local," "Business," "Politics," "Entertainment," "Sports," "Sci/Tech," and "Health."
The site has several really great features, one of which is the local news sidebar. Although you can access local news by clicking on the category page, having the sidebar there makes keeping tabs on your state's news even easier - especially when you just want a quick glance at the top stories.
Another cool feature is the "breaking news" bar at the top. You won't see this all the time, but when a big story is released, you'll see an orange bar at the top linking to the article.
When you're browsing the news, you can click "more on this story," to pull up a whole list of related stories about that topic while, in the sidebar, you are presented with options to refine by location or category or perform related searches.
Another unique feature to Live Search News are the "news videos" sections found midway down on most of the categories' main page. Here, you can access the days big stories in video format - and we're not talking videos from a user-gen site here - the videos come from Reuters TV, AP Video, Fox News, ABC News, USA Today, CNN, and other similar news organizations. What's even cooler is that you don't have to leave Live Search News to view them - just rolling over the video with your mouse will begin to play their stream.
The site also has a clean and well-designed look and feel and will certainly appeal to news junkies everywhere.