MSN customised page gets beta update

We haven’t mentioned MSN for a while, mainly due to all the Microsoft-Yahoo talk that’s been going on. However a few days ago the My MSN customised homepage launched a new beta version, available at http://next.my.msn.com.

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So what’s new? Well the most striking thing you’ll notice when comparing it to the old site is that it now features the new-style header UI. This includes the drop down menu linking users to all the other MSN sites, as well as offering access to the main Live Search verticals straight from the page.

Other new pieces include an embedded MSN Video player, showing the most popular videos right now, tooltips to improve the first-run experience, and the standard modules such as Hotmail inbox, most popular searches and front page news. The menu system for each module needs a UI update, but other than that it makes a good first impression.

While the main page is already pre-populated, users can create their own custom pages. Just click the Add a Page -  Blank Page option, and then pop a keyword into the search box to find content. The search results are somewhat messy, with various RSS feeds from Live Search (?) and a whole bunch of subfeeds showing up, even on a search for LiveSide. Luckily you can hit the preview button to make sure you’re importing the feed you really want. Alternatively you can just drop an RSS feed right in there. Once added, you’ll suddenly realise how similar this page is to the personalised My.Live.com. That’s not surprising given some of their features have made it across into My MSN; check out the mouse over previews for example

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All in all its a nice page for the mainstream user, bringing them both the current “popular” content to consume, as well as letting them tailor it to their own liking. Now lets see what Windows Live can do.