The news niche is so lucrative that it generates tons of traffic for the serious publisher. So rich and attractive is this niche that virtually every big tech company including Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and now Microsoft wants a piece of the action. Microsoft has launched an AI-powered news app called Hummingbird. Like Google News, the app is designed to curate personalized news for users.
Hummingbird is currently only available in the US; though that is not official, but Android Police reports that the service does not seem to be available anywhere outside the country.
You can sign into the app by using your Microsoft or LinkedIn accounts; but those options can be skipped if you would rather use the app without any of those accounts. For a start, you will be asked to set up your “Mix,” which is the list of topics you are interested in. Unfortunately, the app lacks the option of letting you drill down to specific sports player or team or celebrity you are interested in. Unlike Google News, categories are generalized—and you will only see topics like cooking, NBA, celebrities and the likes.
Your feeds will get updated with articles you are most likely to be interested in as soon as you have set up your mix. You can tap the options button to save, share, block or dislike any article. When you tap an article, you will be taken to the original site of the publisher, but the Hummingbird title bar remains where you can switch to a reading mode and also copy the URL.
Being an AI-powered news app, Microsoft’s Hummingbird will get better from learning what you like reading and what you really do not. It is still early days, but Hummingbird has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to competing with Google News.
Hummingbird is still not available in the Play Store—so, you may have to wait a little while to download it.
Last June, Microsoft launched Microsoft News in order to compete big-time with Google News. Though, there are tons of new apps out there, the fact remains that people want news from sources they can trust. Reliability is the key word for users, and once they can find a news source they can trust, then the rest becomes history. Microsoft feels it can leverage on its name to attract people to use the app—the fact that it is one of those companies fighting against fake news is an added advantage.
Microsoft News was launched with a feature called “Fact Check” that allows you to crosscheck what is true against what is not. The feature becomes absolutely necessary when you have doubt about the news item you are reading. Adding Fact Check to its news app gives Microsoft a big edge when it comes to setting the boarders. Stats and links from reliable sources are used to debunk fake news in this section.