Microsoft Montage turns your search terms into a single-page magazine

Microsoft Montage

Recently showcased at LeWeb and profiled on Mashable, Microsoft Montage is a web-based application that takes your search terms and transforms them into a magazine-style page. The web app came out of Microsoft's Fuse Labs and went live in the middle of November. Montage pulls information from Bing including news, images, twitter trends, maps, and videos. It also lets you customize your content by pulling information from an RSS feed, twitter account, or images and video from a specific url. All this disparate content can be pulled together into a single, media-rich page. 

This media-rich page is presented in a widgetized and highly customizable grid layout. You can choose from several pre-defined layouts or modify the existing one by deleting items, moving items via drag & drop, and changing the content of each item. Once you have your layout and content complete, you can save the document to an online account, publish it to a unique URL, and share it with your Facebook and Twitter friends. 

Montage is similar to Paper.li, a highly talked about magazine-style, social network aggregator. Paper.li takes status updates from your Twitter and Facebook feeds and presents them in a multi-page, newspaper-style layout. The web app lets you save your feeds as personalized newspapers that are updated at regular intervals. You can also share these self-created newspapers on Twitter and Facebook. While Montage lacks the updating feature of Paper.li, it offers customizable content from sources outside your social networks and is a promising start to a new way of consuming news. 

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14 Comments

Design is a bit on the ugly side, but seems like a cool little product. I would like MS to create a Google Reader competitor. Experiments like this could be useful in a product like that.

andrew_f said,
Design is a bit on the ugly side, but seems like a cool little product. I would like MS to create a Google Reader competitor. Experiments like this could be useful in a product like that.

Needs more format/layout tweaks. It's far from looking like a real magazine. Right now, it looks like a Yahoo Portal.

Orange Battery said,
Cool, now maybe work on Explorer for your side business.. you know, Windows?

Desperate for some advanced features for file management.


Hmm... do you really want Windows Explorer to be an online browser application?? Pretty lame thinking..

Orange Battery said,
Cool, now maybe work on Explorer for your side business.. you know, Windows?

Desperate for some advanced features for file management.

Ok, I can see why your post is interpreted as silly by others, but the conceptual aspect of what you are asking isn't far fetched, and may be something we will see in Win8.

Vista introduced a solid search system based on WinFS concepts implemented with NTFS features to give users and programmers a new interface into the file system though SQL like inquiry. This made things like search folders (saved searches) and new concepts in Win7 like libraries to become possible.

So now that the desktop FS is available as a smart search engine, I would look for it to learn more in Win8, like Bing does, along with other Bing technologies from the image and visual search concepts and word clouds and why not aggregate documents created from search patterns.

Explorer will have to expand the FS metaphor a bit in the upcoming versions of Windows and insetad of sticking to just a hiearchical notion, will have to pull the search and other features to other viusal and interaction aspects.

Win7 does rather well for tracking a massive amount of user data and data types(Ink, ImageOCR, etc) and is able to present them in very concise ways, so why not build on this with more interfaces to the information.

I hope Microosft is sttill pursuing this angle when dealing with desktop level data, as it is the evolution of WinFS concepts, and can be done with the well ironed out search indexing and NTFS systems in the OS to provide a very robust DB like inteface to the data without the overhead of running a DB to store the data outside of basic NTFS and its inherent metadata features.

Orange Battery said,
Cool, now maybe work on Explorer for your side business.. you know, Windows?

Desperate for some advanced features for file management.

Because of course all web developers know how to write a file manager

Orange Battery said,
Cool, now maybe work on Explorer for your side business.. you know, Windows?

Desperate for some advanced features for file management.

"Virtual folders" is what you are looking for. I am talking about the real ones not those available in Vista or even "Libraries" in W7.
Hopefully W8 will bring them back.

Majesticmerc said,

Because of course all web developers know how to write a file manager

Im sorry I meant Microsoft should put more time into desktop enhancement... oh no wait I didn't ask web developers to do it?

Pls attach your emoticon to your post instead.

It's an interesting design concept, but not the best from a usability perspective. But maybe it'll evolve into something interesting that can later be integrated into Bing?

If Microsoft integrates this into MSN, then it could be a great way for their media portal to take on Yahoo, Aol and even Google News. Go MS!

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