MSN is having a make-over, and it's coming to a phone and tablet near you too. Microsoft is rebranding the Bing apps under the MSN and bringing them to Windows, Android, and iOS devices.
MSN, short for Microsoft Network, began in 1995 as an online service for Windows 95. Over the past two decades (!) it has evolved into a portal for various Microsoft services like Hotmail, Outlook and MSN Messenger, as well as news, entertainment updates, videos and other content. Microsoft offers MSN in 55 countries and claims an audience of 425 million people.
The website's new look is in beta at first. Following the redesign change the MSN name will be extended to the currently Bing-branded apps that come built-in to Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices. They will offer personalised content and productivity tools all in one place, the apps matching the setup of the website.
At the top of the new-look MSN is a bar of shortcuts to your social networks, sites and services like Outlook.com, Facebook, Twitter, OneDrive and, coming soon, Skype.
The revamped MSN drops much of Microsoft's original content and focuses on a combination of launching apps and presenting news from reputable media outlets. You'll be able to read the latest news from over 1,000 publishers, including the Guardian, the Independent, Sky News and the Telegraph in the UK; CNN, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times in the US; the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Asahi Shimbun in Japan; NDTV and Hindustan Times in India; Le Figaro and Le Monde in France; and Lance and Estadão in Brazil.
You can choose from ten sections including sport, news, health and fitness, money, travel, and video to customise what you see. Choose a topic that you're interested in and you'll get updates from different sources: the latest news on "Game of Thrones", say, or your favourite sports team. Customise your settings and the changes will automatically appear both on your PC and on the apps on your phone and your tablet.
Because the apps are tied together, clever features include the option to find something online and then take it with you when you're out and about -- a recipe, for example, can be converted to a shopping list in one click, which then shows up on your phone. Other handy personal updates include flight status updates and savings calculators.
You can take a look at the new website now at preview.msn.com.