Leading professional social network LinkedIn Nov. 23 followed through on its plans to launch a development platform, opening Developer.linkedin.com to let software programmers put LinkedIn's profile content into their business applications and Web sites.
LinkedIn has helped more than 50 million working professional connect with others of their ilk, proving to be a fertile ground for business networking and career opportunities. But this information has been walled off from the rest of the software world. The LinkedIn developer platform is designed to let companies add corporate social networking spice to their applications.
Developers will be able to freely use the REST-based APIs LinkedIn has created and made available. The LinkedIn platform uses the OAuth standard to let programmers allow users to easily access their profile information and network content via a secure log-in.
Adam Nash, vice president of search and platform products at LinkedIn, noted:
""At LinkedIn, we have always believed that business applications are better when they are built over a platform of professional reputation and relationships. In real life, our most valuable professional assets are the skills and experience we acquire and the trusted relationships we build. It's not surprising that business software becomes more productive and valuable when it is built over these services.""
Perhaps, but LinkedIn's platform comes after Facebook and MySpace launched developer platforms in the last couple years.
While the LinkedIn developer site was formally opened for business today, the company already has several partners. Microsoft is using LinkedIn to add profile information to Microsoft Office 2010 e-mail users with the Outlook Social Connector.
Twitter application TweetDeck will support the LinkedIn platform in its next version, allowing TweetDeck users to access their LinkedIn network updates from within TweetDeck, which will add a LinkedIn column. Users will be able to filter the LinkedIn column to only show certain types of updates from the new filter panel, which will appear when users click the column header.
ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick runs through the pros and cons of the platform in this blog post, covering everything from ease of use (good!) to suspect, malleable terms of service (bad!).
But the platform remained closed to those select partners and a few others, prompting speculation that the platform was dead. LinkedIn proved everyone wrong, continuing its spree of partnerships as the high-tech world speeds toward 2010.
Prior to the platform launch, LinkedIn has partnered with IBM to bring LinkedIn profiles to Lotus, Research In Motion to bring LinkedIn to BlackBerry smartphones, and Twitter to let its users tweet their status to Twitter and to their LinkedIn connections.
Read more about the LinkedIn development platform on TechMeme here.