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By Tom Spring Microsoft has revamped the look of its MSN Web site, adding content and Net-based tools. The stylish MSN 7, as Microsoft calls it, includes handy new features, notably six .Net Alerts that you can configure to blast instant messages to an e-mail in-box, a cell phone, or a Microsoft instant messaging service. The different user-configurable alerts keep tabs on real-time information and can apprise you of everything from local traffic conditions to flight delays.
Microsoft claims that the MSN page loads 30 percent faster for both dial-up and broadband users. In my tests with a dial-up modem, however, MSN.com didn't load perceptibly faster. Still, I liked the new MSN Broadband Highlights page, with its content from MSNBC and ample links to high-quality third-party broadband content. Also new: MSN now offers DSL broadband service from providers such as BellSouth, SBC, and Verizon.
Most MSN.com services require you to have a .Net Passport--to get one, you must supply your e-mail address and a password--and the services are optimized for Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser. Even so, IE users of Hotmail.com and MSN Messenger will appreciate the slickly integrated array of MSN services that are assembled neatly at one MSN.com domain. From the January 2002 issue of PC World magazine