LinkedIn may be the largest business-oriented social networking service, but it’s been playing catchup in terms of personalization and third party integration. Now the Mountain View company has rolled out a more advanced search solution with none of the features that would make it true a platform.
LinkedIn’s new search feature provides highly targeted options for locating people using its service. Searchers can zero in on the right people by company, job title, industry or purely by keyword.
The new search results page on LinkedIn also displays results from people outside your network automatically and simply uses degrees of separation to help determine relevance. While the feature may be taking a page from Facebook’s search methodology, it’s still a very handy feature.
The new LinkedIn search page also offers customized search options including the ability to create a new results view with only the profile information you want. You can then choose to save any search as an agent and decide how frequently to have LinkedIn email you the results.
Is it a platform?
All of these features point to a much better search experience for LinkedIn users. So what’s missing from the new search engine that makes me hesitate to call it a platform?
While LinkedIn has improved its search features, there is still no way for the average Joe to develop an application that interfaces with the site. This is the key difference between a Web site feature and a platform, which can be accessed from across the Web.
In fact, developers must first submit their ideas for approval to LinkedIn to have any hope of using its API. This is decidedly not an open strategy, one of the underpinnings of Web 2.0.
I’m perfectly fine with LinkedIn protecting user data as it’s the core value of the service. In terms of calling it a platform, I think the company shouldn’t talk the talk until it’s ready to walk the walk.