A news-gathering web site that tailors the stories selected to individual users is being tested by Microsoft. Once MSN Newsbot is fully functional, Microsoft says the site will personalise results within 10 minutes of a user starting to browse.
If successful, the site is likely to be a direct rival to the highly popular Google News, which clusters information from over 4000 news sources according to topics but does not customise results.
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How might such a service work? One possible algorithm follows the Amazon.com model, and compares the user to what previous like-minded users have been looking for. But if I could ask for one improvement, it would not be this. My searches are so wide-ranging, so strange, and so eclectic, I am perhaps immodest enough to think I have few useful doppelgaenger [“doubles,” roughly, from the German] in this regard. I would prefer the ability to type in questions, often of a conceptual or abstract nature, and receive a ranking of relevant web sites. In short, a better version of askjeeves.com would be most likely to draw my loyalties away from google.