Microsoft Garage app News Pro gets an intelligent news bot, adds curated groups with comments

The latest release of News Pro, an app from the Microsoft Garage, adds groups so you can share and comment on articles with colleagues and others, as well as a News Pro bot that’ll help find information on the latest developments in your industry or field – and talk about it with you.

This highly personalized experience, which debuted in January, is available on the Web and as an app on iOS and gives users the ability to locate articles from more than 10,000 publishers and bloggers.

In version 2.0, News Pro groups provides news articles on hot topics – and the means to discuss them with others.

“We believe group discussion is a natural extension of news reading, especially when it’s about work,” says Yumao Lu, a principal development manager whose team works on Bing news products. “A very natural move after reading news is to share and comment with people who have common interests. These groups are trying to fill a gap, to give you opportunity to express opinions with others. This was an app that focused on news reading, and now you can chat with the app and with others, creating communities.”

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News Pro provides an environment where people can share their thoughts with colleagues or friends on a daily basis. The app automatically groups users together based on where they work. It also groups users by their interests, skills and industries and recommends those groups to users. Next, the app chooses articles based on social networks and user groups and recommends this curated content to corresponding groups. You can also look for people you are interested in and follow their public posts.

The Me Tab now shows a Timeline of your posts that others can see and follow. The Timeline lists public posts in reverse chronological order.

“Users have told us they would like to get updates from other users that they are interested in and would like to follow,” Lu says. “If Groups is a place to listen and get heard, Timeline is a place to get to know each other.”

The app learns from your choices. Start with any topic, and the next topic could spin off that, if you confirm your interest in that area. If the app sees a strong interest in an area, it’s going to recommend more on it. But you’re not locked into those choices – you can change your interests to follow, too.

4And now, News Pro includes a news bot. Other than searching and tracking news, the bot can also chat about news all day long. Upload your picture to the bot and it’ll find news subjects that look like you.

“Reading news, especially work-related news, can sometimes be a bit dry. A bot that can have some basic conversation with you could make news reading more fun,” Lu says. “News Pro bot is your news agent at your beck and call. Try talking to the bot about any news topic on your mind, playing with the assisted keyboard.”

Besides these two additional features, you will also see more content in the Highlights tab, such as news for the companies you follow, leaders in the news, trending stories on social media and news near you.

You can now track any topic you like. Just type your topic in the search bar and check it to make sure that is what you want on the results page. Or use the bot to track it. Trending news is now available in the Explore Tab – and you can subscribe to it.

With the 2.0 version of News Pro, you can find the work-related news you want and people to talk about it with in one place.

“Users deserve more in one app,” Lu says. “While focusing on professional news, users don’t need to go anywhere else to look for trending news in work, local news, etc. They’re free to track whatever they would like to track, work- or life-related, and it is our job to offer the best match.”

Find News Pro in the App Store and at the Microsoft Garage.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

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