Photo Credit: Microsoft
Microsoft Start has been introduced by the company as a personalised news feed for both desktop and mobile users. The new experience, which will also be integrated within Windows 11, is meant to serve news from different publishers within a single interface. Microsoft claims that Microsoft Start uses its “latest advancements in AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, coupled with human moderation” to offer a personalised news service. The same experience will also be available to mobile users through dedicated apps available for Android and iOS users.
Coming as a replacement of the existing Microsoft News service, Microsoft Start provides a fresh experience to users where they can pick different topics on the basis of their interest. A dedicated ‘Personalise' button is available to help users create a tailored experience. People can also refine their feeds by liking or disliking particular stories or hiding a particular publisher from the home screen.
In addition to personalisation, users can react to particular stories with emojis. The feed also includes cards on topics including weather, finance, sports, and traffic — just like any major online news portal. Microsoft has given the option to choose which information cards will show up on your feed and with what details. For instance, you can change the city for weather updates or select your favourite stocks to appear on the money card.
Unlike many news sites that show pop-up ads while reading, Microsoft Start has a standalone advertisements units flagged with a green “Ad” badge to clearly distinguish ads from news content. This is similar to the ad units available on the MSN portal.
Microsoft already has MSN as its online news service that is not being replaced with Microsoft Start. However, Microsoft Start in itself is a combination of MSN and Microsoft News along with machine learning inputs that offer personalisation. The new experience serves content from over a thousand global media outlets that were earlier also on board for Microsoft News. Moreover, the purpose of Microsoft Start appears to help MSN gain some traffic as it is the underlying source of content being delivered through a new, personalised feed.
It is important to note that Microsoft Start may sound familiar to old Microsoft spectators as the Redmond-based company had Start.com as its RSS aggregator that it introduced back in 2005 but discontinued a couple of years later.
That said, Microsoft Start is available as a standalone website that you can currently access on Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. It is also available for access from the new tab page on Microsoft Edge and through the News and Interest experience on the Windows 10 taskbar. Users on Android and iOS can also download Microsoft Start app that is essentially a rebranding of the existing Microsoft News app. Furthermore, Microsoft Start will be available from the Widgets experience in Windows 11.