Maybe this isn’t new, but I just signed out of my Hotmail account and was redirected to a Live Search homepage. I’m pretty sure when I did that on Friday it sent me to the MSN home page, as it has done for about as long as I can remember. Is anybody else noticing this change? It might not be a bad way to expose more people to Live Search, which just recorded its weakest market share in 12 months.
Update, 9:15 p.m.: Emil Protalinski, who covers Microsoft for Ars Technica, points out that LiveSide.net noted this change last week. Kip Kniskern wrote, “Sending people to visit the live.com page seems like a no brainer to get them to try out Live Search, although the advertisers on MSN.com might not be too happy.”
It looks like this is being rolled out in stages. Two commenters tried it and were not successfully redirected to Live.com.
Update, Monday, 8:01 a.m.: Microsoft spokeswoman Whitney Burk tells me via e-mail, “Yes we’re testing it on a small portion of our traffic. From time to time, we run these types of small scale experiments to test what the best experiences are for customers.”