Microsoft is offering a sneak peak at its new redesigned version of its MSN.com home page that incorporates social media giants: Facebook and Twitter.

width=398In a bid to stay current and relevant, Microsoft's web portal MSN.com has been given an extensive revamp for the first time in almost ten years.

New features include a cleaner design with fewer links, a column dedicated to social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, and a large search engine box.

More than half of people online start their sessions on sites like MSN and they told us they want simplicity - yet still want the latest information and their favorite services delivered together, said Lisa Gurry, senior director at MSN.

The company plans to formally launch the redesign early next year with a small group of US users getting access now.

The redesigned site carries links organized into five categories: news, entertainment, sports, money, lifestyle and more. US users will also be able to get local news from their area such as concerts, restaurant reviews, and weather and traffic reports which vary based on the user's location.

This is a much needed update to a site that hasn't been given much attention in a long time, says Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang.

MSN.com is still the top portal in about 25 of the 46 markets, with around 600 million unique users globally and 100 million in the U.S, where it's in the third spot behind Google and Yahoo.

Microsoft sealed a partnership deal with Yahoo earlier in July that will allow Microsoft to add Bing search to Yahoo's Web pages.

Microsoft shares were trading up 58 cents, or 2.11 percent to $28.11 in late morning trading.

Click here to view the MSN.com preview page.