Microsoft Rolling Out Revamped MSN Homepage

Microsoft announced in a post on the MSN Blog by corporate vice president Erik Jorgensen that it will roll out the beta version of the redesign of MSN that it launched in November to all of its users in the United States over the next two weeks.

New features include easier integration with social-networking services, a larger search box, more local features, and more multimedia content.

Highlights from the MSN Blog post:

We’ve seen double-digit increases in Bing search queries coming from the new homepage. People wanted even more Bing, so we:

Increased the prominence of the Bing search box to make it easy for you to search from the MSN homepage.

Added a new TrendWatch feature to highlight the day’s top movers on Twitter.

Increased editorial programming of search-related content, including videos and images.

Increased the prominence of Popular Searches, where our editorial team highlights the most interesting and topical searches of the day.

And we’re currently testing a Search History feature so you can more easily find information you typically search for.

In just a few months, MSN Local Edition has grown to 5 million unique users while still in preview mode, with more than 40 percent of those users coming back every day. With the launch of the new MSN home page and local module, that audience is expected to grow exponentially. The MSN Local module on the homepage is driving over 50 percent more traffic to our new local offering, MSN Local Edition. MSN Local Edition, which uniquely covers the entire country across 42,000 ZIP codes, continues to innovate, introducing new features like:

Hyper-local tweets, which uses the power of Bing to highlight tweets from your location.

My Cities lets you personalize MSN Local and save up to three cities to follow, making it easy to keep up with your friends or family across the entire country.

With partnerships with NBC Local Media and Hearst Television, MSN Local Edition now offers 3,000 news video clips per week across 36 local markets.

We’re continuing to offer more multimedia on the new homepage, including launching the availability of in-line HD video today.

The tabs on the new homepage allow us to highlight different categories of news and many different headlines with less clutter — we learned you love lots of news headlines to choose from, so we added more tabs and made the navigation easier so you can easily access the wealth of information on MSN.

Social networking is handy to have on the homepage. Most of you appreciate the all-in-one offering of the new MSN homepage, including the ability to check your Hotmail, Messenger, and your favorite social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and Windows Live, right from your MSN homepage. We realized we could make social networking even easier, so now our social-network module defaults to the social-network tab you use most frequently (Facebook, for example).

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