May 26, 2000
11:35 AM   Subscribe

Internet Explorer too hard for you? Confused by all the choices in Netscape? Like AOL? Maybe this this browser is more your speed.
posted by mathowie (16 comments total)
From the screenshot, I'm guessing this is for those people who think the Salon redesign uses too much whitespace.
posted by harmful at 11:44 AM on May 26, 2000

That's nothing.
Check out
the "Taco Bell" and "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter" (maybe Fabio comes as a plug-in) browsers. Or maybe you prefer the "McDonalds" - they all meet the latest web standards from the FDA.
posted by the webmistress at 11:54 AM on May 26, 2000

Ok, I'm scared of this (screenshot).

A few thoughts after using it for ten minutes or so:

- the interface is entirely a tie-in to MSN properties (no big surprise there), but the startling thing is how well every MSN site works in the big colorful interface - so much so that non-MSN sites (read: the entire web) looks awful in it. This is scary because it keeps people coming back to the MSN sites which are the only ones that look "comfortable"

- there is no status bar at the bottom of each page. I could see MS doing this to keep the URL complexity away from users, but I can't find anyplace to turn it back on, which is weird.

- The URL entry box is very small and hidden in the interface when you look at the entire thing. This looks to be another way of keeping people on MSN sites and not browsing the web.

- New windows that open up are free of almost the entire interface, no huge top icon bar and no MSN link list on the left - but, there's no URL bar, so when you open a new window (or when one opens for you), you look at it, and then have to close it and return back to the MSN core window. This is very sneaky of them.

overall, it's scary in the way I found AOL scary in 1995 -the web is positioned as "out there" and encourages users to stay on MSN properties, buying MSN products and reading MSN news from MSN media outlets.

Bottom line: It's ok to make an interface easy to use for new users, but don't make the browser into a one-way communication and selling device. This new browser ignores the information sharing and communication aspects of the web that are the very core of why it is great. Instead of browsing the world, you're stuck browsing MSN's internet mall. ugh.

The Web Is Not TV Microsoft
posted by mathowie at 12:01 PM on May 26, 2000

Playsckool's "My First Browser" (heehee)
posted by Dean_Paxton at 12:07 PM on May 26, 2000

>>the web is positioned as "out there" and encourages users to stay on MSN properties

Right on. What's so 'new' about this, MS? This seems like just a sneaky way to bundle the MSN services together in a warm, furry, comfortable package. Sound familiar?

Although I am strangely drawn to the pretty, pretty colors...
posted by scottandrew at 12:32 PM on May 26, 2000

Sneaky? whats sneaky about it? (btw, I hate microsoft too) Its straight up about what it is supposed to be, it says MSN on it. Its not another browser for the world to use - in competition with ie and netscrape. From the start it says msn. Its Microsoft new day aol. Aol moved (is moving) to this kind of thing, since thier proprietary software's life was/is over.

Do I ever make sense?
posted by jamescblack at 12:51 PM on May 26, 2000

Dvorak covered this in February: Microsoft's Mission to "Mars"

"The current has a shallow feel. MSN Mars is worse. Everything is on the home page, and not much of it is interesting."
posted by tomalak at 1:15 PM on May 26, 2000

Oh wow makes me wanna go use AOL, atleast AOL has a "web" feature that opens up I.E. inside AOL.
posted by riffola at 1:52 PM on May 26, 2000

Its really odd to see that but then again there are more and more newbies on the net every day. At least there is another newbie only choice...
I think they would catch a few more fish if they changed the name of the service. MSN sounds like a kind of disease or a condition. They were trying to emulate AOL too much.
posted by neo452 at 2:05 PM on May 26, 2000

me likes the cute li'l starfish
posted by Doomsday at 3:16 PM on May 26, 2000

It's interesting. Back in 95 and 96 (before 95 OSR2 was released, and before Microsoft realized how badly they'd missed the whole "internet" boat) MSN was another proprietary service, like AOL, Compuserve or Prodigy.

The big bad Internet crushed MS's then dreams for MSN. They admitted they'd missed out, and turned MSN into a combination ISP/Portal.

Now they're doing the exact same thing, but in reverse. This entire MSN browser deal is the perfect little mini-application to make people who don't know any better equate MSN to The Internet, just like AOLers are constantly accused of doing.
posted by cCranium at 4:02 PM on May 26, 2000

Let's have a moment of silence for all the tech support personnel at various dotcoms who are going to have to support this.

"I can't buy the Widget 454+ from your site."

"Ok, let me help you. Can you tell me what's on your screen right now?"

"yeah, I've got the starfish, and the poker chips and all that, and I can see the picture of the Widget, and the button that says 'buy now'."

"Starfish? I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you are referring to."

"The rainbow colored thing that looks like a screensaver and lives at the top of the screen."

and so on...
posted by katchomko at 4:36 PM on May 26, 2000

Just wait until you see MS's completely skinnable OS... (I've already said to much).
posted by endquote at 8:21 PM on May 26, 2000

I agree with jamesc: it represents Microsoft's first push into the AOLSpace of "custom UIs for the otherwise-free web". Now just integrate MSN Messenger, Outlook Express, and Microsoft Chat... ta da, MSOL!
posted by othermatt at 9:09 PM on May 26, 2000

And has anyone noticed the new WebTV commercials on the radio... that don't *ever* say Microsoft?
posted by baylink at 9:59 AM on May 27, 2000

(Trying to come up with something thought-provoking & insightful)
Like, Eeeew...
(okay that didn't work. To "Hillary Banks"...let's go the plagiaristic route)
Playschool's "My First Browser" (heehee)

Yeah! That says it all! (psst: Thanx Dean!)

posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 10:46 AM on May 27, 2000

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