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digital scrapbooksModern technology really changes the way people search and gather information. Most of us have replaced our frequent trips to the library with search engines. Also as search engines become faster and more relevant, we leave the manual paper page turning activities further and further.

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.

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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.

01b Give a topic.jpg

Managing Montage

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.

02b Sign In Using.jpg

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.

03a Try another layout.jpg

You will notice that your name is displayed as the curator under the search string(s).

free digital scrapbook

And this is what the result would look like.

02a Search result.jpg

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.

free digital scrapbook

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.

free digital scrapbook

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.

digital scrapbook

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.

05 Menu.jpg

Clicking the “Settings” button will allow you to change the background image.

digital scrapbook

While the “Save” and “Save & Close” buttons are self-explanatory, the “Publish” button will allow you to add tags to your Montage,

06 Save - Tag.jpg

Then share it with your friends via Facebook and/or Twitter.

digital scrapbook

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.

digital scrapbooks

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.

  1. thurana
    December 31, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Hi,

    I've tried to look for a way to do that but couldn't find any. Maybe other readers have more luck?

  2. Anonymous
    December 24, 2010 at 9:45 am

    really cool. is there anyway to embed this into wordpress.com or blogger blog as a page?

    • Anonymous
      December 31, 2010 at 11:01 am

      Hi,

      I've tried to look for a way to do that but couldn't find any. Maybe other readers have more luck?

  3. majhiduniya
    December 24, 2010 at 10:45 am

    really cool. is there anyway to embed this into wordpress.com or blogger blog as a page?

  4. Tomas
    December 23, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Thanks the author, very useful advice. my pc's internet connection is very slow, which always drive me crazy, I want a program to solve my slow computer, several days ago my friend recommend me a software tuneup360, now I'm waiting for the result.

  5. Saikat Basu
    December 23, 2010 at 4:25 am

    Really cool. This one could be a handy vision board for life's or next year's resolutions.

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