BATTLE OF THE PORTALS
- I just looked at MSN.com for the first time in a while, and I guess they got rid of the nice colors at the top with a big blue bar. Blagh. The big redesign is a lot nicer on the eyes than it used to be, but some of the pages didn't get the memo. There's too many black words on a white background, and it comes off as sterile and unfriendly. It could definitely use a designer. Also, I still don't get why they don't combine Bing's picture of the day and Windows Live's social features to make a compelling Microsoft Homepage Experience. I miss start.com, which existed briefly in 2006 or thereabouts as a sleeker, more experimental version of My MSN.
- I thought the Yahoo! frontpage looked neat when they announced it, but they keep changing things around and crippling functionality. You can longer pop out the "apps" simply by hovering over them, you have to click the arrow to "Open Quickview." Adding "apps" is now confusing as hell, since they're now part of the "Yahoo Pulse App Gallery" and may or may not actually be added to your homepage. Also, any sites you add to "My Favorites" just have an ugly star icon, instead of grabbing the site's favicon like it ought to.
- AOL.com is surprisingly nice. It feels less grid-like than the others, and they do a fairy good job highlighting the stuff from the massive network of sites they've been secretly building up when we weren't looking. The drawback is that you can't really change anything except the picture at the top. We all laughed at AOL for being AOL, but now "Aol." (as it wants to be known as now) wants to garner some respectability, and I think they're taking the right steps.