The site, msnNow, "cuts through the clutter of the Web, providing an up-to-the minute view of breaking trends and the hottest social conversations, what people are saying about them, and why they matter," the software maker said.
MsnNow captures feeds from Facebook, Twitter, Bing, BreakingNews.com, and other sites. Microsoft said content is chosen through the use of special algorithms that measure which topics are generating the most buzz around the Web.
"The site's editorial staff utilizes exclusive technology that identifies what trends and topics are heating up on the Web, enabling staff members to continuously update the site with fresh content so you don't miss a thing," the company said.
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The site features a rotating carousel of top stories at the top of the page, and a sidebar panel on the right that lists the "biggest movers." As of early Thursday, top story headlines included: "Kobe Caught Smooching His Ex," "You Can't Stay In Whitney's Room," and "Model Unsure Who She's Dating," the model in question being Sports Illustrated cover girl Kate Upton.
The Biggest Mover topics included Madeleine Stowe, Vanessa Bryant, payroll tax, and Ron Jaworski, who just announced his departure from ABC's Monday Night Football telecast.
MsnNow also features a prominent Bing search box, an indication that Microsoft is hoping the site will drive traffic to its search engine. The site also represents Microsoft's latest effort to create a destination portal along the lines of Yahoo.
A previous effort, WonderWall, has drawn only middling traffic since its launch in 2009. Website tracker Alexa currently lists WonderWall as the Web's 15th most popular destination, trailing Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia, and others.
Still, Microsoft is confident that msnNow will have some staying power, and it's clearly aiming the site at a younger audience. "Whether you need to catch up on the latest celebrity gossip before dinner with girlfriends, keep a pulse on the college basketball buzz heading into March Madness, or get the lowdown on what the people on Main Street are saying about the presidential race, msnNow has you covered," the company said.
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