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Microsoft’s new app will read the news to you

Whether it’s because you absorb information better by listening than reading or because you wish you had an assistant that could boil stories down to basic summaries and read them to you, you might be interested in the new app that Microsoft is working on. Known as NewsCast, the app creates a playlist of summarized news articles from across the web and reads them to you.

Microsoft is quietly testing an app that seems designed for people who feel overwhelmed by the media’s endless stream of news stories and who wish they had a helper app that reads them article summaries. The app, called NewsCast, hasn’t been formally announced, but it was first spotted by Neowin’s Brad Sams. It takes in articles from around the web and starts reading summaries of them to users in an ongoing playlist. Users can save articles for reading later and view the full text of any article NewsCast pulls in using a built-in browser or a distraction-free reading view. It’s all designed to keep users up to date on the latest news while they’re commuting and don’t want to be staring at tiny text on their phone. According to a publicly-accessible webpage for the app, NewsCast is a proof-of-concept product from the Bing News and Speech teams and seems to only be built for testing inside Microsoft. The teams are “trying to validate several hypothesis[sic]” with the app, though it’s not clear what they’re testing. Collecting feedback from users is a major focus of NewsCast’s current build—tapping a feedback button in the app opens an email that includes a three-question survey about what users like, dislike and want from it in the future.

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