Seizing on the idea that professionals want to keep abreast of news in their businesses, LinkedIn March 10 launched a social news service that funnels relevant news users are sharing via the professional social network and Twitter.
LinkedIn Today aggregates news shared by LinkedIn members’ colleagues and other connections, top stories from a certain industry or field in which a member works or has indicated interest, and finally, trending news across several market sectors.
The move comes six weeks after LinkedIn filed for an initial public offering, aimed at raising at least $175 million in stock.
LinkedIn, which has 90 million users, makes money from advertising, premium subscriptions and software services professional recruiters use to hire new employees. LinkedIn Today is designed to boost user engagement, ensuring more ads are surfaced in front of the site’s users.
LinkedIn Today’s recommendation algorithm gleans content from user profiles, as well as what connections users are following. The news stories are rendered on LinkedIn users’ front page, similar to the way news content appears on Yahoo and other news portals.
Members can see who has shared a headline via LinkedIn or Twitter, as well as what people are saying about it on the social network and microblog service.
Users can mouse over a headline and see a number pop out, denoting how many times the link has been shared.
Clicking on that number shows who from LinkedIn and/or Twitter shared that link. People may refine their searches for those who tweeted by company, industry (LinkedIn covers 22 sectors) and location.
“Let’s say you work in the Internet industry, and sell to customers in the health care industry,” said Liz Reaves Walker, senior product manager at LinkedIn. “With LinkedIn Today, you can follow all of the industries that you care about-Internet, staffing and recruiting, and health care-and then come to one place to get all of your news.”
LinkedIn Today users will also receive a single weekly e-mail of top industry headlines from sectors members follow.
LinkedIn Today was built from technology it gained from its purchase of recommendation engine mSpoke. The service is available via a Web browser on the desktop and the LinkedIn iPhone application.
Users can navigate to www.linkedin.com/today in their Web browser to sample the service, or go to the main menu and click News to access the site. LinkedIn is “ramping up entry points on the homepage and in the navigation” to make it easier to access.
GigaOm has the best analysis of LinkedIn Today’s pros and cons, including why the service won’t engender more user engagement.