The redesigned MySpace, which includes a new logo, shifts social networking on the site from people discussing the latest happenings in their lives, most of which would only be of interest to friends and families, to a "new visual identity and product features that put content center stage."
In essence, MySpace owner News Corp. has decided to abandon competing head-to-head with Facebook and take the site in a new direction in an attempt to rejuvenate the brand. Once the hottest social network on the Web, MySpace has been eclipsed by Facebook, which has a half billion registered users, compared with MySpace's 122 million.
The new MySpace is available in beta and will be rolled out to users through the end of November. New users will be entered into the beta version. MySpace plans to launch this year a mobile application for accessing the new site through an Apple iPhone or smartphone running Google's Android operating system.
The major changes to the site start with the welcome page, which users will see when they log in. Rather than start with a person's profile, the page will contain entertainment-related content covering music, movies, television and celebrities. The content displayed will reflect the interest expressed by the user.
In addition, MySpace will have "content hubs," where users can see news, videos and photos related to specific topics. In general, the hubs, which will be rolled out over the coming months, will focus on games, comedy, sports and fashion.
MySpace will include on every page a "discovery tab" that drops down as a horizontal filmstrip that will display videos that a user's friends are watching and what's popular on MySpace. In addition, MySpace is including a "my stuff tab" that will give users quick access to their profiles, photos, videos and uploaded content. The tab reflects how MySpace is shifting focus while not abandoning its roots.
MySpace is clearly directing the site toward Generation Y, which roughly covers people from the age of 10 to 30. Content on the site will be geared to the entertainment tastes of the age group, and what's featured on welcome pages and content hubs will be drawn from what's popular on the site.
To make the site feel more like a community, MySpace will focus on promoting users whose reputation and knowledge around particular topics and emerging cultural trends have made them influential on the site. MySpace plans to support these resident influencers with resources, tools and a platform to expand their reach on the site.
MySpace has recognized Facebook's dominance in social networking for some time. In August, MySpace synced its service with its archrival, making it possible for users to share music, links, photos and videos with their Facebook friends. After the accounts are synced, MySpace updates appear on the pages of Facebook friends.
In some sense, the MySpace overhaul is an expansion of what originally drove the site as a social network: music. The sharing of music on the site, which led to many artists joining the social network, was an important element of its growth before Facebook became a major player with better tools for building profiles, sharing content and communicating with friends.