Sunday, March 21, 2010

MSN New Look Now Live in US

Microsoft's MSN portal has been testing a 'new look' on a preview page for the past few months.  Comments from those that have checked it out have been somewhat mixed but mostly positive for the new simpler design.

Over the past few weeks, Microsoft has been sending e-mails and also running a banner at the top of the MSN page announcing the upcoming change.

The change is now live for most .... at least here in the US.

One of the things you'll notice immediately is geo-targeting.  Even if you are not signed in, the page will deliver news and other results based on your IP (or perceived Internet access location).

The other notable inclusion is a trend chart, not based on Microsoft's Bing xRank, but instead items that have been trending on Twitter:
MSN is also now embracing Facebook Connect directly from the front page. Microsoft is a minority investor in privately-held Facebook.

For now, the new MSN primarily competes with Yahoo and AOL.  Both companies launched new layouts as well, also embracing social media, in the past few months.

Microsoft's customizable portal, recently shut down and offers a page that redirects to the company's search product Bing.

The question that nobody seems to be asking (maybe there's no answer yet?) is what is Microsoft going to do with one of the best web addresses they own .... ?

Update 1 - Mar 22 - 12:21 AM ET: The new MSN page is apparently also now the default in Canada. (Thanks to Rebekah Jssn chiming in on Google Buzz)