Professional-networking company LinkedIn has launched LinkedIn Today, a news aggregation service that uses the interests and reading activities of people in users' networks as the curation mechanism.
LinkedIn Today creates a front page from the stories that people in your professional network are sharing. (Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET)
A new news-like front page, at Linkedin.com/today, shows the stories that LinkedIn's algorithms think will be most relevant to the user. Stories can be flagged from LinkedIn itself of course, but users who have connected their Twitter account to the LinkedIn log-in (the company calls this "binding" Twitter to LinkedIn) can also flag stories by tweeting them. The company unveiled the news aggregation service at a press conference yesterday.
LinkedIn product manager Liz Walker told me the company is "looking at" a way to enable Facebook Likes to signal the LinkedIn Today service, but at the moment there's no connection. Senior vice president Deep Nishar says that LinkedIn is actually not missing important signals with the lack of a Facebook connection, since most LinkedIn users (by that he means not the Silicon Valley cabal) intentionally segregate their serious work discussions and content sharing from the personal updates they're likely to put on Facebook.
The company also wants to put more LinkedIn share buttons on major news sources. It will have to compete with the trend toward fewer share buttons on story pages now, however.
A quick check of my own LinkedIn Today page shows that the service works. The top stories on my page were all highly relevant for me. Under each story's blurb there were indications of who in my network had shared the story, adding further social context. "Sections" of the main page are created from each users' LinkedIn profiles. My paper had pages focused on online media and internet, for example, because my work profile shows me to be in those industries. Users can also browse other "lenses" and add them to their paper.
In addition to providing a solid and useful lens on news in one's industry, LinkedIn Today also helps forge professional connections and conversations, furthering the de facto mission of LinkedIn: it helps people get jobs.
LinkedIn is also adding the Today service to its iPhone app, which was updated today.
Walker said at the company's press conference in Sydney today that LinkedIn is looking at bringing the social news functionality to Android, BlackBerry and even Windows Phone 7 handsets later down the line.
The product is a user interface refinement of LinkedIn Signal, a Twitter-like service that entered beta in September, but that's also being opened up to all users today.