LinkedIn has responded to the challenge of Facebook today by joining OpenSocial and launching its developer platform as well as a new look (still to come) and host of new features. They’re described in some detail on VentureBeat. The design changes include a new homepage, an emphasis on activity feeds, customized company news, and several customizable modules on the site.
One interesting new feature, as described by VentureBeat, is a third-party module/widget that reportedly takes advantage of a new LinkedIn API and shows you your connections via content that site (in this case, BusinessWeek):
Business Week, one pre-launch platform partner, has already developed a feature that lets you see how you’re connected through LinkedIn to people and companies written about in its articles. Click on a name in a Business Week article, and you’ll see a popup window showing how you’re connected through LinkedIn
In all, these new features create more reasons to use the site on a daily basis or put the brand in front of you more frequently. Frequency had been a persistent issue with the site: there were few things to do after accepting an invitation to connect. To remedy that, LinkedIn added “Q&A functionality” and yellow pages style listings some time ago. The new company news and additional features will undoubtedly add utility, boosting usage frequency.
There is a rumor circulating that News Corp. is in talks to buy LinkedIn.
Here’s more information from the LinkedIn blog about the new platform and site features.