Microsoft today is introducing its own personalized news reading experience called Microsoft Start, available as both a website and mobile app, in addition to being integrated with other Microsoft products, including Windows 10 and 11 and its Microsoft Edge web browser. The feed will combine content from news publishers. Still, in a way that’s tailored to users’ individual interests, the company says — a customization system that could help Microsoft better compete with the news reading experiences offered by rivals like Apple or Google and popular third-party apps like that Flipboard or SmartNews.
Microsoft says the product builds on the company’s legacy with online and mobile consumer services like MSN and Microsoft News. However, it won’t replace MSN. That service will remain available, despite the launch of this new, in-house competitor. To use Microsoft Start, consumers can visit the standalone website MicrosoftStart.com, which works on both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge (but not Safari), or they can download the Microsoft Start mobile app for iOS or Android. The service will also power the News and Interests experience on the
Windows 10 taskbar and the Widgets experience on Windows 11. In Microsoft Edge, it will be available from the New Tab page, too. At first glance, the Microsoft Start website is very much like any other online portal offering a collection of news from various publishers, alongside widgets for things like weather, stocks, sports scores, and traffic. When you click to read an article, you’re taken to a syndicated version hosted on Microsoft’s domain, which includes the Microsoft Start top navigation bar at the top and emoji reaction buttons below the headline.
Users can also react to stories with emojis while browsing the home page itself.
This emoji set is similar to the one being offered today by Facebook, except that Microsoft has replaced Facebook’s controversial laughing face emoji with a thinking face. (It’s worth noting that the Facebook laughing face has been increasingly criticized for being used to openly ridicule posts and mock people — even on stories depicting tragic events, like Covid deaths, for instance.) Microsoft has made another change with its emoji: after you react to an account with it, you only see your emoji instead of the top three and total reaction count.