The ongoing battle for social networking supremacy is set to heat up, following the announcement of a significant MySpace redesign. The news of the redesigned elements comes just as the blogosphere has been reporting on Facebook matching MySpaces monthly visitor numbers (see graph below for details).

MySpace today announced the launch of a series of high profile user interface changes that include the site’s home page, navigation, profile editing, search, and MySpaceTV player. MySpace are hoping that oday’s announcement – part of a year-long company initiative to redesign and rethink the core functionality of the site – will empower the site’s global community to more intuitively navigate throughout the site and better communicate with their family and friends around the world.

A year ago we set out on a path to rethink the way people interact with the fundamental features of MySpace, said Tom Anderson, president and co-founder of MySpace. This is just the beginning – by the early autumn we expect to reveal an entirely new and remixed MySpace that provides more a more intuitive, customizable, and private experience.

The global redesign will roll out throughout the week and features changes based on results from multiple in-home usability studies, online surveys, impromptu testing, focus groups, and user’s messages and comments sent to Tom’s profile.

Splash Page Re-launch:

For the first time in site history, MySpace is redesigning and re-launching the site’s splash page. As the entry point for the site’s global users, the splash page is the gateway to the site and offers advertisers a major opportunity to connect with the diverse MySpace audience. On Wednesday, June 19 users in the United States will see a branded splash page takeover sponsored by a major advertiser and on Thursday, June 20 users will see the entire new look and feel which features a more intuitive and simplified log-in. Additionally, the new splash page features a larger creative palette for advertisers, allowing for a flexible platform to put a large percentage of the page into a brand – an unparalleled opportunity for brands to engage users at the gateway to their MySpace experience.

New Navigation:

Also on June 19, MySpace will unroll new site navigation sparked by user demand for easier access to key communication tools on the site such as mail and core viral community features such as music and MySpaceTV. The redesign provides a consistent and easy way to get from one place to any other place on MySpace and contains a drop-down menu housing additional functionality including Karaoke, Games, and Celebrity.

Profile Editor:

The new profile editor will unveil a host of new personalization options for users making it easy for the community to customize profiles through a selection of styles and granularly detail their sections from a theme library offering color, borders, and images to choose from. Users with more advanced coding skills will still be able to fully customize profiles using HTML coding. The unveil of the profile editor comes on the heels of recent profile enhancements including the recent launch of photo albums, photo editing, friend updates, status launch, page theming, and MySpace messaging with new search and sort.

New Search:

On June 17 MySpace will roll out drastically overhauled searching capabilities with a consistent, clean user interface. MySpace is working with Lucene Open-Source engine and community to enhance search capabilities, marking the first time MySpace has contributed to the Open-Source community. Search will have improved filtering by location and added relevancy to search algorithms. Search results will be tabbed, with five tabs based on the top five search categories; People, MySpace site searches, Web searches, Music and MySpaceTV. With almost 20 billion searches on MySpace this year, MySpace is ranked third in total number of searches by any site.

MySpaceTV Player:

Built internally, the MySpaceTV player has been redesigned for an incredibly rich user experience and will roll globally to the community on June 18. The new player includes scrubber, time-stamps, volume memory, and new menu systems which encourage the user to share and interact with content – and search within the player. The player fully utilizes Flash 9, with a true full-screen mode, and it supports HD. The new player offers a more flexible advertising platform with multiple formats (pre, post, ticker, companion banners) and advertising providers. The global launch will include international, language specific players (e.g. Japan) and will initially be released on all of MySpaceTV, with embedded videos to roll out iteratively.