Update 2: Microsoft has decided to give Bing a little bit more prominence on the recently redesigned MSN homepage. Probably not a bad idea, considering MSN.com had nearly 90 million unique visitors in March, according to Compete. Bing had 52 million.
Update: After some delay, Microsoft is reportedly now rolling out the new MSN home page design over the next couple weeks.
Original Article: MSN.com gets about 85 million unique monthly visitors in the US alone, according to Compete. That's significantly more than AOL.com. So now that Microsoft has unveiled a redesign to it, it stands to reason that a lot of people are going to be affected by it. Microsoft calls the new design MSN's most significant home page redesign in over a decade.
"Now is the time to clean up the mess on the Web — people need less clutter and less hassle to find what matters most to them," said Erik Jorgensen, corporate vice president, Microsoft. "Microsoft is uniquely invested in search, media experiences and technical innovation. Combining these assets to deliver our new MSN home page is a tremendous win for customers and advertisers."
What do you think of the new design? Share your opinions here.
The new design pays significant focus to local, Bing, social networks, and news. Coinciding with the announcement of the redesign was the unveiling of MSN Local Edition. This is a section of MSN that gives you local news, weather, sports, movies and events, restaurants, gas, traffic, a directory, lottery numbers, etc.
The Bing integration with the new MSN is deeper. It's now used as the core search technology throughout the home page in areas like shopping, travel, and local. It is also used as a way to highlight hot topics, trends, and people.
There is a clean integration of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as Microsoft's own Windows Live "What's New," which aggregates up to 50 web activities from various places like Yelp, Flickr, Pandora, etc.
"Customers told us they want the latest information from their favorite sources, their friends and the breadth of the Web — and the new MSN home page delivers via a fresh new look and new features," Jorgensen said. "Today is an important transformation for MSN, and it’s just the beginning."
There is also an emphasis on de-cluttering the home page. Microsoft says there are 50% fewer links than on the previous version. Here's what the whole thing looks like:
The design is not live on a wide scale yet. It will be rolling out gradually over the coming weeks. It is, however available as a preview here.
On a related note, Microsoft is finally launching MSN Music this week. The launch has been postponed since July.