Microsoft's MSN Homepage Will Soon Suck Less
Microsoft’s MSN Web portal is way overdue for an overhaul. As a news site, it’s fairly informative—but it’s busy, outdated and ugly. It’s also not consistent with the rest of Microsoft’s properties, which is strange considering it’s often the default homepage on new Windows PCs.
But that’s all changing very soon. Microsoft has launched a preview of a redesigned MSN that it hopes will be easier to browse and serve as a kind of web-based desktop.
The new MSN looks a lot like Windows. The layout is less cluttered, and users can customize what they see. If you like sports but don’t care about celebrity gossip, you can easily edit the page accordingly. Microsoft has teamed up with content providers for different categories, including the New York Times and AOL.
But the real attraction is the emphasis on Microsoft services. The company is trying to transform MSN from a starting point to a hub—and it just might work if you live in the Microsoft ecosystem. The top of the site features a “Services Stripe” where you can hover over various icons to check your Outlook mail, Bing Maps, and even OneNote and OneDrive documents.
The new MSN will be a personalized, cross-platform experience. Microsoft plans to launch iOS and Android versions of previously Windows-only apps like Food & Drink and Sports (if you add a recipe or sports team on the MSN website, you’ll see it on your phone or tablet as well).
You can start using the MSN preview today, but the old version will stay live for a while. There’s no word yet on when the site will be rolled out to everyone, but the Android and iOS apps are expected to hit their respective app stores within a few months.