After looking pretty much the same for almost a decade, one of the top three internet starting points is finally getting a facelift. MSN is debuting its new look, which you can preview here, and Bing is playing a central role in the overhaul - though it won't always be so obvious to the user.
MSN will be relying on structured data gathered from Bing to inform content featured on the new homepage. This includes new modules for local news and all of MSN's shopping will be powered by Bing. MSN will also rely on data about what people are searching for to publish timely content across their network.
Currently, MSN drives 45% of Bing's traffic. Time spent on content, such as the type MSN provides, has grown 24% since 2003. Considering that the other two of the top three internet starting points are Yahoo! and AOL, which have redesigned in the past year, it's no surprise that MSN wants to hang out at the top - and leverage that position to drive Bing's growth. MSN experiences 100 million U.S. users per month, and has grown by 10 million in the past year alone.
One of the reasons content is so hot is due to social networking. MSN is integrating a social module into the redesign, where users will able to access their Facebook and Twitter feeds. This is part of a strategy to make MSN an "information dashboard for your life" for its users. (Sounds kind of similar to Yahoo!'s lastest Y!ou marketing campaign to get users to make Yahoo! their "home on the web.")
Cosmetically, MSN is switching from a blue background to white. There are dashes of color, reminiscent of the new Zune software, which is quite slick. The navigation has been de-cluttered, with 50% fewer links.
MSN Local Edition
What do you think of MSN's new look and strategy? Let us know by leaving a comment.