RealTime IT News

MSN Home Page Getting an Extreme Makeover

MSN Redesign
Click on the graphic for a larger view. Source: Microsoft

Its debut is still months away, but Microsoft on Tuesday began showing off the upcoming home page redesign for its MSN portal, including tight integration with the Bing search engine as well as ties to social networks.

Microsoft's revamped home page will not actually be available to users until early next year, according to a statement from the company. MSN's home page currently garners nearly 100 million visitors per month.

"However, today's sites often fall short of top customer needs and many haven't kept up with evolving trends," according to a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) statement. The company aims to correct that with the new design.

The new MSN home page, for one thing, features half as many links as the current version, a move that aims to make navigating the page and its available services simpler.

It also features "deeper integration" with Microsoft's Bing search engine, which itself just debuted in early June. For instance, Bing integration will be visible throughout the home page, in areas such as shopping, travel and local, and to highlight hot topics, trends or people, a Microsoft spokesperson told InternetNews.com.

Last summer Microsoft added integration with its free Live Hotmail e-mail service, enabling users to perform Bing searches from their inboxes. Then last month, Microsoft also inked a deal with Twitter that enables Bing to pull in tweets.

The updated MSN page will also feature inline support for other social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook. That includes Microsoft's Windows Live "What's New" service that aggregates activities from sites like Yelp, Flickr, Pandora and more, the spokesperson added.

Additionally, MSN is adding high definition streaming video based on Microsoft's flash competitor Silverlight.

MSN -- short for Microsoft Network -- is Microsoft's oldest online property. It launched in 1995, when Microsoft envisioned it as a competitor to America Online, which was a proprietary network at the time. The world, instead, adopted the more open model of the Internet, so Microsoft transitioned MSN to be an information portal and Internet Service Provider.

With an early 2010 delivery, the redesigned home page is scheduled to arrive about the same time that Microsoft hopes its deal with Yahoo will kick into gear. Yahoo, which agreed to have Bing provide search on its sites in exchange for some of the advertising revenue last summer, just debuted its own home page redesign.

Microsoft's MSN preview is available here.