Microsoft's experimental app outfit, the Microsoft Garage, released another iOS app today called News Pro. The reader is similar to Apple's own offering, Apple News, and mobile mainstay Flipboard. You can login with a Facebook or LinkedIn account, where you'll pick topics of interest like finance, tech, and design to get a selection of algorithmically chosen articles in a more mobile-friendly reading format. News Pro has a highlights section for getting a list of top stories and an explore tab for checking out new topics organized by industries, organizations, skills, and products. That type of granularity may be useful to some users, especially those interested in certain subtopics like coding languages.
By linking with either your Facebook or LinkedIn account, Microsoft's is trying to glean what topics interest you most from a social and work perspective. It succeeds in some respects, and fails in others. It accurately subscribed me to The Verge, video games, nanotechnology, and graphic design, among other topics. But it also thinks I like farming, dairy, and food production, which I'm sure was gleaned from some strange misunderstanding of my Facebook activity and liked pages. News Pro also put me down as a sports fan, despite my appetite for sports-related news being almost non-existent.
Microsoft's ambitions for News Pro are unclear
Microsoft's ambitions for News Pro are unclear. Garage apps, which are made by a hodgepodge of company employees, are often one-off projects put out in the wild and forgotten. They rarely if ever move from one platform to another, and Microsoft has already confirmed Android and Windows 10 Mobile users won't be getting News Pro. Still, if you're an iPhone user looking for a no-frills reader to stay informed and Apple News and Flipboard just don't cut it, Microsoft's product may be worth your time. One big benefit of News Pro is that its web app works on any device, so it could be a good desktop destination for when you're bored at the office.