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Ananova is a Web-oriented news service that originally featured a computer-simulated animation of a woman newscaster, named "Ananova," who had been programmed to "read" newscasts to Web users. Ananova is a subsidiary of mobile telecommunication operator Orange SA. Orange bought Ananova in 2000 from the Press Association (PA) in a £95m deal.

Described as "the world's first virtual newscaster," Ananova, the animation, was actually a user interface to a Web service that allowed users to receive customized news. Ananova could be requested to:

  • Read a two-minute newscast summary
  • Read a customized newscast based on selected preferences
  • Give selected sports scores and weather information as it develops
  • Alert subscribers by e-mail when a story of interest becomes available
  • Periodically scan a targeted group of Web sites and notify subscribers of new changes

Ananova launched on April 19, 2000. Her first words were "Hello world", follow by "Here is the news. And this time it's personal". The service combined live Web newscasting from an animated "talking head" with an intelligent agent service. The animation was described by her designers as 28 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, and with a "pleasant, quietly intelligent manner."

Whilst the Ananova website is still operational and providing written news items, the animated Ananova character has been unavailable since sometime in 2004. The website has claimed since that time that the software is under development and will be available again "soon."

The Ananova news service is well known for its collection of unusual news stories, which it features in the Quirkies section.

http://www.oneswitch.org.uk/IMAGES/4/communication/ananova.jpg