LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, has a useful Web site and a successful business. It is planning a stock offering for later this year.
But before it does, LinkedIn wants to give its more than 90 million members — many of whom visit the site only rarely — a reason to stop by every day. So on Thursday, the site unveiled a personalized news service, LinkedIn Today, which aggregates headlines from around the Web. Rather than being edited by humans, LinkedIn Today is put together automatically based on what stories people in a user’s professional network and industry are reading and sharing.
LinkedIn Today will compete with other general news aggregators, like Google News or Yahoo News, as well as those that are tailored to a specific industry, like Techmeme, for technology. LinkedIn is hoping that by tapping your own network and your peers in the industry, it will do a better job at cutting through the clutter.
“We want to give you what you need to know to be better at what you do,” Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s chief executive, said Thursday in an interview after the unveiling of the news service at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
The service, which appears to do a good job of compiling the most important news of the day in various sectors and industries, has some useful features. For example, a user can click on an article to see who has shared it and what they have said about it. The user can then filter those results by a number of criteria, including company, geography and industry. That makes it easy, for example, to see what people in the media industry in New York are saying about a story on AOL’s acquisition of The Huffington Post.
You can also do searches to find out, for instance, what articles about the Apple iPad 2 are being read and commented on at Microsoft.
LinkedIn unveiled a number of other tools on Thursday, including a graphical way to map your connections on the site. The tool, which remains experimental, is available at inmaps.linkedinlabs.com.