Microsoft Refreshes MSN, Adds Social Networking Links


The preview of the new MSN portal shows considerably more white space than does the existing MSN portal, and appears to make it easier for users to navigate.

For instance, instead of being hit with a mess of uncategorized links on the top of the old MSN homepage, ranging from Airfares & Travel to Money to Yellow Pages, browsers of the new MSN will find the Bing search bar followed by six simple categories including "News," "Entertainment," "Sports," "Money," "Lifestyle" and "More."

The featured articles are also prominently displayed near the top of the page on the left, making them much easier to find than having to look past a cluttered navigation column that runs almost the length of the left side of the page with the old MSN.

The new MSN seems to be more social network-friendly. Microsoft has added live links to let users connect to Windows Live, Facebook and Twitter with two clicks.

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However, those links, which might be commonly accessed given the popularity of social networking, are actually on the right side of the home page and may not be as easy to find as some users might wish. That could be especially important to users of smaller notebook PCs or netbooks who deal with relatively small displays.