Microsoft’s Montage goes in public beta

Microsoft’s Montage goes in public beta

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What would your scrapbook of the web look like? Or your own curated magazine with content dynamically updated from YouTube, Twitter, RSS feeds, Bing images etc? Well now you can find out…

At Web 2.0 a few weeks ago we showed Montage and until now you could only see what others had created with the service. This week at LeWeb in Paris, we announced public availability of Montage – now everyone is free to play and create their own pages.

FUSE Labs work in the office just across from me here in Redmond and they’ve been busy putting the finishing touches to the service for today’s beta launch. I’ve had early access and been playing for a few weeks and the best way I can explain it is a fast and easy way to build a magazine like interface for a topic you’re interested in – no code skills needed. You can literally create something in 60 seconds or you can spend a little more time, tweaking the design and layout to get some impressive looking results. The panel below shows you the starter tools for creating a page and a new feature I just noticed they added is when you first enter a topic name, a default page is built for you. Here’s an example of a page I created in literally 10 seconds about coffee.


Check out the Montage for LeWeb itself from Richard Zaragoza and another on Paris from Tom Laird-McConnell to get an idea of what’s possible. Street Art is a favorite of mine along with Windows Phone 7 (which includes another FUSE project, Social Gadgets).

I can imagine people using Montage to create custom home pages for themselves, or information walls that run on monitors at conferences or in news rooms. One thing I’m hoping the team will add is a way to see the most popular Montage’s over time though they do have a search function already and ability to sort by category – and Matt McLaurin already announced that a future version of Montage will allow you to embed Montage’s in a page.

Go try it out and let us know what you think….oh and you can follow the Montage team on Twitter - @getmontage and Facebook.

[update] good to see Montage up on Techmeme

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  • created this in 2 mins fab ....

  • Here's my newly created montage on philosophy:

  • what's the difference between Montage & Emporia?

  • @lena - the difference between Montage and Emporia is that Montage is a tool to create web pages while Emporia is a service or site that delivers personalized information and learns about what you like to make the content more personalized over time

  • I spend an hour or so playing with montage this afternoon and found it really interesting, especially as a curational tool, allowing experts to quickly add value data mashed up from all over the web, packaged into a beautifully formatted magazine style.

    It reminds me a little of aggregation sites like netvibes or snowflake in that it allows you to pull in data from a range of different feeds and display it in a single page, but it then it allowing you to add your own text, images and videos, which you can then share.

    I can see it being really useful for bloggers, information sharers and storytellers, especially around conference and events like 'thinking digital', where you want to share your views along side dynamic content like real time twitter streams, photo streams and vox pops from youtube or vimeo videos. (herb is going to love it!)

    Fuselabs have come out with some great projects this year, but this is certainly one of the most user-friendly  projects i've seen to date, and i can see many  applications for it. That being said it is an early stage public beta and there are some areas that need some work, for example the video section allows you to enter a search term to find video but then makes you choose a single fixed video rather than displaying the real time results of the search and the rss didn't much like displaying the results for say a weather chart. I'd also like to see the ability to add html code for richer more dynamic curatorial content rather than just text.  

    On the whole a great service and i can't wait to see what montages people come up with, especially those people like yourself and other leading commentators that are natural story tellers, curators and sharers of knowledge ;->

  • @dave - very pleased to hear you like it Mr Coxon. I'll pass the feedback on to the team around video etc.