MSN—known to millions as "the site that Internet Explorer insists on going to after a fresh install"—is getting a new look as part of a broader rebranding effort.
The venerable portal site is Internet Explorer's default homepage and boasts millions of visitors. Its new, stylish makeover brings back memories of iGoogle and so many other portal-type sites before it. The different news sections can be personalized to favor your interests, and there's also integration with Outlook.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
The site aggregates news from a wide range of sources spanning wire services, online publications, and local news outlets. The news partnerships will vary on a country-by-country basis: in the US, partners include The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The Guardian and Telegraph are those chosen in the UK.
Over all, it's a good looking update, and it looks much fresher than the current MSN site.
Microsoft also plans to introduce a range of MSN-branded applications for iOS and Android, joining the existing apps for Windows and Windows Phone. These apps—News, Weather, Sports, Food & Drink, Travel, Money, and Health & Fitness—are all currently branded as Bing apps. While this branding took a back seat earlier this year as the apps were renamed—"Bing News," for example, becoming merely "News"—their "about" screens betrayed their Bing association.
That's going away. Windows Phone Central spotted the new MSN branding was already in use on the apps preinstalled on the forthcoming Lumia 730 and 830.
This seems more than a little surprising. Perhaps our perception is skewed, but the MSN brand has long struck us as being a little dated, a relic of the early days of the Web, when portals were all the rage. Bing is the brand that's heavily promoted, and it's the brand that Microsoft used to distance itself from its older online efforts. Now it seems like Microsoft is going back to the past, picking up its very oldest online brand and giving it wider usage.