Microsoft redesigns Live.com

Microsoft has launched a redesign of its Live.com Web site.

A redesign of the Live.com home page may not be quite what analysts had in mind last week when they asked Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about how the software giant plans to streamline its online presence.

Starting Wednesday, visitors in the US are being shown a new Live.com page -- although they may not notice it's new. The page looks mostly the same as before, except it now features a background photo that apparently will change periodically.

The photo features a few blurry squares that show up when a mouse passes over them. If the user hovers for an extra second, a box pops up with a message that, when clicked, brings them to a page with additional information, including maps and photos.

The current photo features a man on a long boat on an African river. The information squares point to photos of animals that live in Botswana and other facts about the country's natural features.

The design was well-received among customers trialing it last month, according to a blog post by Chris Rayner, senior product manager, and Zach Gutt, senior program manager, both of Microsoft's Live search user experience team.

Like the previous design, the page predominantly features the search bar and lets users choose to search images and videos. Links point to Web pages for Live maps, news and other Microsoft offerings.

"We think the new design is a great start, but there's more to come, with lots of interesting directions that we'll be exploring in our next releases of the home page," the employees wrote on the blog.

Analysts who asked Ballmer last week how the company might fix its confusing online branding to make it easier for users to find Microsoft's online services might be relieved to hear that there are more changes to come. Microsoft maintains both the MSN and Live online brands, and in some cases the same online services carry both names.

Ballmer said Microsoft has been working on a way to combine its online services under a single Web page. However, the new Live.com page includes links to MSN.com and the Windows Live home page, so the current redesign hasn't addressed that problem.

Indeed, while the pictures might give the Live.com home page more aesthetic appeal, Microsoft is unlikely to gain ground against Google in online search and advertising until it clarifies its online services. In search, Google continues to hold a daunting lead over Microsoft, which runs a distant third even to Yahoo, the company Microsoft failed to acquire after months of negotiations.

(Elizabeth Montalbano in New York contributed to this story.)

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?