Microsoft to revamp MSN, include stronger Bing ties

According to CNET, MSN is looking to revamp the MSN homepage, and it will have stronger ties with Bing.

Two MSN revamp concepts are currently under testing. One version, that is being tested in France shows fewer channels, more video, and a direct connection to a user's Hotmail in-box. Another version, being tested in Brazil shows a more radical overhaul that has social media bar that users can use to share video with their social circle. As part of the revamp, Microsoft is looking to add a limited amount of personalization as well as more social media features.

The MSN portal, which is the default home page for Internet Explorer, has been responsible for about half of Microsoft's Internet search traffic. The company says its research shows that 37 percent of Internet users still rely on a portal as an important source of information. "It's not for everyone, but for a good chunk of the market, it's a way people can make sense of the Internet," MSN Vice President Erik Jorgensen said in an interview.

In terms of having stronger ties with Bing, Microsoft has been playing around with different search box designs to see which one lead to the most queries, and by posting features on the site that tie in to Bing's search engine. Bing has managed to pick up market share, and is now number 2 in search after Google. Microsoft is also hoping that deals with HP and Dell will convince more people to use Bing.

Microsoft is looking to launch the revamp of it's MSN portal site in the fall.


MSN France, image provided by CNET


MSN Brazil, image provided by CNET

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MSN's current homepage layout is a bit cluttered, but looking at these alternatives, I can't say they are significant upgrades. the Brazil version looks clean overall but the revolving windows make it a bit too busy in that area. The big thing here obviously is how they will factor in Bing search with its portals. None of the search boxes shown look like drastic improvements from the current U.S. layout so maybe they have something else planned on that front.
As long as they don't bury the box with unnessecary color schemes or something like that, then I think Bing will continue to do well and MSN will continue to have a lot to do with why.
www.eZanga.com

The France page is a slight improvement but nothing exactly revolutionary. Why does that person need 4 places to search from (e.g. MSN Toolbar, IE Search Box, IE address Bar, MSN website)

The Brazil one makes me feel slightly nauseous.

I wouldn't use either but I know loads of users who wouldn't dream of changing their default homepage, they just aren't bothered no matter what it is. I have even found myself getting sidetracked by an MSN article when using someone else's PC no matter how horrible the page design is.

They should support widescreen monitors (surely the default nowadays) and get a proper AJAX image slideshow for their photo gallery articles.

I guess now that Windows won't include IE in Europe they will have to try a bit harder to get their Bing/Microsoft page hits, I can't see any other browser using MSN as a homepage LOL

They need to fix IE8 until I will go back to IE and Bing Search results appalling, I thought they would have fix it all by now. Its just Live Search why, doesnt really bing for me.

Eh, I usually dislike the design of most international MSN homepages.

However, NineMSN has done a wonderful job with its page design and promoting Windows Live. The color scheme is pleasant, font is smoother, everything laid out better and orderly, and good use of AJAX (like the Guide). All MSN teams could learn a lesson in better web design here: http://ninemsn.com.au/

I really wish Microsoft would make an international standard look for the MSN homepage. Even though some countries have more content than others, I still wish it were consistent in design amongst every country, but of course just different news and languages.

In my opinion, that MSN Brazil picture looks horrendous. Too much flash, colors, spotlights, etc. It's just too busy looking. MSN France is ok.

Hope Microsoft will continue fixing up MSN, instead of just tossing it out.

Quikboy said,
Eh, I usually dislike the design of most international MSN homepages.

However, NineMSN has done a wonderful job with its page design and promoting Windows Live. The color scheme is pleasant, font is smoother, everything laid out better and orderly, and good use of AJAX (like the Guide). All MSN teams could learn a lesson in better web design here: http://ninemsn.com.au/

I really wish Microsoft would make an international standard look for the MSN homepage. Even though some countries have more content than others, I still wish it were consistent in design amongst every country, but of course just different news and languages.

In my opinion, that MSN Brazil picture looks horrendous. Too much flash, colors, spotlights, etc. It's just too busy looking. MSN France is ok.

Hope Microsoft will continue fixing up MSN, instead of just tossing it out.

I like NineMSN's layout. I hope MSN team make one like that for US version of MSN. We will see what happens next.

Can't stand that overloaded msn.com site and have no intentions of ever checking out Bing!!

Man, can they come up with any dumber names for things?!!

If we're going to talk names, I think that 'iPod' sounds stupid:
- two syllables, doesn't roll off tongue
- improper capitalization, results in trademark violations all over the place
- pod sounds like something from Alien

... and yet it keeps selling.

MSN needs a cleaner design than either. Something like Bing or Google News integrated with Google Finance. I hate the wasted blue space on MSN France. Wasted space is not as important as a nice clean design though.

MSN Brazil looks awesome... It should be their worldwide design!

MSN has too many in your face ads though, Even with an ad blocker you get huge spaces... I know its a free service but bad ad placement... it looks awful on the Brazil one!

Ooo yay, you linked to my post, Kevin :)

This is interesting as both designs are so different. I really hope they go for a consistent look across all MSN websites and if they do, it'll be interesting to see which type of design they choose.

I still can't believe how horrible and distorted they have made the Windows Live Photos icon on the current UK page - http://uk.msn.com/

Wow, the Brazil site is horrendous.

They could have done a lot better with the France one, too, but it isn't terrible.

CNET reporting the obvious! Agree with other that the Brazilian site looks amateur, the French site looks OK though.

It's not obvious if you don't live in those countries or do not randomly, frequently, visit other countries' MSN websites :D

I didn't know about this, until I saw this article.

Brazil one is horrendous.

I also echo the need for standard MSN round the world.

Little things like looking at a top 10 of some rubbish tips is a problem because to navigate to the number 2 from number 1 you have to scroll down to find the bloody arrow each and every single time. That is incredibly daft and infuriating for a user.

MSN needs a lot of work beyond the homepage.

but the Brazil site has that cool rotating window thing, and it makes use of the full width....

why do people keep saying that the French one is better??

I like the look of the Brasil one, the France one is too dang small. Let the content fill the screen (dynamic), don't have 30% - 40% filled with nothing because the layout is locked to a small width.

My main question is why, oh why, does the web page differ by country? The layout should be universal accross the Earth, it's just the language that changes... and the news.

That way, it costs less to maintain, it costs less to do, it's harder to get f***ed up with all your files, and people from all around the world can understand every MSN website if they understand the language. It'd work the same way.

But you're right, the France version is too tight, it needs to be a little more "widescreen-friendly".

PsykX said,
My main question is why, oh why, does the web page differ by country? The layout should be universal accross the Earth

I feel the same way with alot of sites, especially the US & UK versions of T-mobile's site. tmobo's US site looks like a horrible 90s website site. While as the UK version is very Web2.0.