LinkedIn Announces New Beta: LinkedIn Signal

Oct 4, 2010

Last week while some were attending SourceCon in Washington, D.C., LinkedIn was making an announcement at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco about a new beta project it just launched called LinkedIn Signal. Here are some of the most important features as described in the official post from the LinkedIn blog:

Signal is the first of many LinkedIn products aimed at making it really easy for all professionals to glean only the most relevant insights from the never-ending stream of status updates and news. In other words, Signal allows all professionals to make sense of the noise that surrounds them today…Here are the five key features of LinkedIn Signal, a new product that we’re rolling out in limited beta today.

1. Filter: Browse only relevant status updates from your stream

Hidden in the stream of status updates is information that’s valuable and helps you be better at your job. Signal allows you to hone in on information you’re most interested in for e.g. updates from your colleagues (even from folks on your same team) or audiences you’re most interested in researching and understanding.

LinkedIn Signal offers 8 dynamic filters to navigate the stream. You can narrow or expand your view of the stream based on the following filters: Network, Industry, Company, Time published, Geo / Region, School or just most popular hash tags.

2. Search for keywords, topics or people across the stream

LinkedIn Signal allows you to also search for specific keywords or topics you’d like to keep up to date on. You could also search for your favorite public personalities or a colleague whose updates you’d like to find quickly.

Given that LinkedIn has always been about your professional identity you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll find relevant updates associated with specific names, some of which come from the LinkedIn member you’re searching for.

3. Get an auto updated real-time stream with rich content

What’s better yet is that Signal shows all the rich content shared by LinkedIn users in real time. You will see an alert at the top of the stream once new data is available. You don’t need to refresh the page anymore for the latest updates.

4. Find the hottest trending links across any relevant topic

Signal also mines all the shared links on status updates and shows you the most popular links, many of which are the hottest news stories on that topic, updated to the minute.

You will notice that the links will change over time as we continue to assess the relevance of a link based on topic, popularity and recency. Since the trending links are also sensitive to your specific search, the links shown for the search “TechCrunch” will be different than the ones for the search “Meg Whitman”.

5. Who’s Shared This Link?

Even better, you can now see who’s shared any of those Trending Links. You can also refine by industry, company and region. Imagine if you wrote a blog post on your company’s blog or were quoted in a news article, you can now see who’s shared that article and made it popular.

Signal also lets you create very personalized views of the LinkedIn stream that you can check into every day. You can go back to it quickly by simply accessing all your followed searches on the top left rail.

This will be especially helpful to those who work in multiple industries, as this will allow you to create saved searches for whatever industries from which you recruit.

According to a post by David Kirkpatrick on The Daily Beast, “…because everything everyone posts in this service [LinkedIn], unlike in Facebook, is by definition public data, everybody’s posts are searchable. What the company obviously hopes, and requires, is that its members will not only use this new capability to find information about others, but will be inclined to post more thoughts and links themselves, hoping to be more influential inside the community.”

This is a significant change for LinkedIn as it moves to become more and more like Facebook without the public search-ability issues. We’ve been noticing some strategic moves that LinkedIn has made this year with its acquisition of mSpoke in July and then last month, its acquisition of ChoiceVendor. Something big is on the horizon, as in addition to the latest beta and the summer acquisitions, LinkedIn has also been growing globally, having opened offices in Mumbai, Amsterdam, Dublin, and Toronto just this year. IPO, anybody?

At the time of this post being written, I have not been included in the beta rollout of Signal but would be interested to have comments from anyone who has so we can learn from your experience.

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