But one thing still stays the same in the researching business – we still have to compile search results manually, whether it’s in the form of stacks of photocopies or bytes of information. Montage from Microsoft tries to change that – in style – by giving us access to an online visual digital scrapbook.
More Acquainted With Montage
Some might say that Montage is a nice looking web magazine where you can consume information comfortably. The difference with other ordinary web magazines is that the content curator is you. Others may also say that Montage is a kind of search engine where the results are compiled and displayed in a beautiful magazine-like layout.
The website gives a brief description of itself:
Montage is a flexible web-based service that makes it fun and easy to create and share a visual album of the web on the topics you care about. You can design your Montage around any topic you can imagine by adding content that pulls information from a variety of sources, including RSS feeds, Twitter, Bing News, and YouTube. Montage is an expression of you.
Montage is also editable and social. You can tinker with the content of your results, for example adding Twitter trends and news articles to the page. The look of your search results can also be customized, saved, shared via Facebook and Twitter, and published to a unique webpage.
The basic use of Montage is as simple as writing down the search string and hitting enter. For more customization options, read on.
Even though anybody can use the basic features of Montage, more advanced features – like sharing, saving, and publishing – will only available after you log in. Montage allows users to use their MSN, Facebook, or Twitter account to sign in.
After writing down the search string(s) and clicking the “Create” button, the result will be displayed with the option to modify the layout. Click the “Prev” or “Next” link to switch between available layouts, or click “Keep this one” to choose the one you want and move on to view the result.
You will notice that your name is displayed as the curator under the search string(s).
And this is what the result would look like.
If you hover your mouse above a panel, it would display the options to “Edit or Add Content“, along with the “Delete” and “Horizontal/Vertical Split” button.
Clicking the “Edit or Add Content” button will open up a window where you can find and add new materials and/or change the visual style of the box.
This is also the place to change the content type of the panel. Click the “Change” link and choose the type of content that you want to use. The options range from images, to RSS feeds, to Twitter trends.
You can also change the size of any panel and the space between panels simply by hovering the mouse pointer over them and dragging the edges. You will notice that there are buttons on the top area of the page.
Clicking the “Settings” button will allow you to change the background image.
While the “Save” and “Save & Close” buttons are self-explanatory, the “Publish” button will allow you to add tags to your Montage,
Then share it with your friends via Facebook and/or Twitter.
Finally, your Montage will be saved as a page and listed under “My Montage” menu. After the page is saved, you are ready to create another Montage.
Montage is a great way to collect, compile, and share information about things that you like or simply just need to know about a particular topic, political news, sport events, celebrities stories, or anything else that you can think of. I’ve just tried this web app for a short time and already like it a lot.
What about you? Have you tried Montage? Do you know other web tools which also allow you to get information in a unique way? Share your thoughts using the comments below.