LinkedIn gets a mobile makeover
A YEAR after Facebook decided that its future lay in mobile devices, LinkedIn has at last come to a similar conclusion: Its core audience of white-collar workers is constantly on the go, and the company needs to do a better job of reaching its users beyond the desktop.
On Wednesday, LinkedIn rolled out a couple of products aimed at mobile users, like its revamped iPad app that adopts a more traditional news-feed style of articles and updates from users' contacts, and an e-mail add-on for iPhone users that pulls LinkedIn data about the sender into every e-mail message.
LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner told reporters that going mobile was "redefining" the company. He said: "Users are going to find what they are looking for much faster."
He added that about 38 per cent of unique visits to the company's services in the most recent quarter were via mobile devices, compared with 8 per cent in the first quarter of 2011.
Sometime next year, he predicted, more than half of all visits globally will come from mobile devices, with Singapore, Turkey and United Arab Emirates already there.
The company is rethinking its mobile offerings as a consequence, offering five apps catering to various needs of LinkedIn's approximately 238 million users:
THE MAIN LINKEDIN APP
Called the LinkedIn "Swiss army knife", this app offers a more streamlined experience of the desktop app, with special features on the phone, such as a way to apply instantly for a job by e-mailing your LinkedIn profile.
The new iPad version, unveiled on Wednesday, has personalised menus to help users pull up the most relevant information.
Directed at professionals like salespeople and real-estate agents who need ready access to their contact lists, this aggregates contacts in a single place.
A news-aggregation app that was acquired in April, this combines stories posted on LinkedIn with more traditional feeds from users' favourite sources.
This is a mobile interface to the company's big-ticket subscription product for recruiters, with an emphasis on buttons for quick e-mail responses and sharing of information about promising candidates.
This add-on for the e-mail app in iPhones comes from Rapportive, a contact-management start-up that LinkedIn acquired last year.
When activated, it routes a user's e-mail message through LinkedIn servers, which scans the sender's name and plugs in information from his LinkedIn profile, before routing it to the inbox.
A single click allows a user to pull up the sender's profile, see shared connections and ask to be added to the person's network.