News aggregators are all the rage. The options out there afford varying degrees of customization, but most take a feed and spit out a more visually appealing version of the links and information contained in the feed.
Microsoft Montage (link here) is a wee bit different. Starting with a search term, you can get your results spit back out you in a magazine-like layout, which in and of itself is easier to digest. But the really cool part is that your “front page” is highly customizable, allowing you to change the layout of each result, tweak animation, delete or add result blurbs, add Twitter results, etc., until you are satisfied that your paper is a true expression of newsworthy reporting. The result is a page with news items and relevant media, “picturing” your subject from many angles. After you are satisfied with your page, you can save and share your “Montages” to your peeps on Facebook or Twitter, and publish it to its own URL.
The Web commentators are almost uniformly comparing Montage to Paper.li, the Twitter-based aggregator that selects tweet from your follows and presents them in a newspaper-like format. I don’t really see the comparison. Paper.li is limited to Twitter and does not involve the depth of editing that Montage does, and Montage does not automatically update – you have to manually keep your Montage’s content fresh via affirmative visit to your list of sites.
Mashable has a nice write up on Montage here. And you can check out this video for a more visual explanation of the service. Thanks to Microsoft’s Fuse Labs for this cool new way to cull and present web information and highlight expertise.
But, I do find Montage to be an interesting, web-based tool for purposes of collecting content and then sharing a very shiny version of it with your social net. Check it out and let me know what you think.