New Cleaner, Prettier MSN Homepage Revealed

The new, revamped MSN homepage is now live. Updated on Tuesday, November 3rd, this hugely popular internet portal sees 100 hundred million visitors per month who comes to read news, watch videos, and get other local information like events and weather. Yet despite its popularity, the portal has not seen a major overhaul of its design since 2004.

If you’re not a regular visitor to the site, you’ll still be able to tell at a glance that it’s undergone a number of big changes. Nothing has been left untouched – even the butterfly logo has been revamped!The new site opts for a much cleaner look. Gone is the blue background surrounding the white space, replaced by a completely white background instead.

At the top of the site, there’s a Bing search box, followed by topical links underneath taking you to news, entertainment, sports, money, lifestyle, or “more” subsections. On the main page, the lead stories are promoted by large, attention-grabbing images while other news items appear below as links.

Also different is that the site no longer forces you to sign in and custom your settings in order to get local information. Although customization is still an option, Microsoft found that most users weren’t bothering. So now, the site uses geolocation technology to determine your location by IP address. This allows it to deliver local weather and news to the homepage and to the “local edition” sub-site that’s filled exclusively with area news (see link at top right).

However, if you want to see your Hotmail email or Windows Live updates in the homepage modules that sit towards the bottom of the page, you will need to sign in and authenticate yourself using your Windows Live ID. 

One of the more interesting updates is the inclusion of Facebook news feeds and Twitter updates, both of which are located as tabs within the Windows Live module. Using Facebook Connect and Twitter OAuth, you can sign into these sites without having to enter your username and password. These new features allow you to keep up-to-date on your social networks right from the homepage. You can also update your status from the homepage, too.

The new homepage is being rolled out over the coming months, but U.S. users can see a preview of it now at preview.msn.com. By the end of the year, 10% of U.S. users will have been switched over. After the U.S. rollout is complete, international markets will follow.

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Above: Old MSN, Below: New MSN

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