Every month, our company celebrates “InDay”, a day when LinkedIn employees from around the world are encouraged to spend their time focused on research, learning and developing concepts outside of their normal routine. For employees who like to learn through execution, we throw a Hackday contest on every InDay.

This concept began with an impromptu hackday held over the 2007 holiday break and has now grown to a company-wide event (including an American Idol style panel of judges). Teams are given just five minutes to demo their hack in front of the entire company, and judges get just two minutes to ask questions.

I’m pleased to announce that, as of today, we’ll be making some of these internal projects publicly available on a new site, LinkedIn Labs. Whether they are hackday winners, or just compelling technology demonstrations, we plan on adding to LinkedIn Labs regularly, as new innovations that are capable of supporting outside users are developed.

Visit: LinkedIn Labs

Four Projects going live today

The initial version of LinkedIn Labs features the following cool technology demonstrations, two of which you may have heard of, and a couple more you’ll be able to experience for the first time today:

  • NewIn 2.0. Anyone who has visited LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View has been treated to a large plasma screen that runs our very first Hackday winner – a real time view of members joining LinkedIn from around the globe. We’ve upgraded the technology to support Google Earth, and are now making it available to the public.
  • ChromeIn. Google Chrome continues to grow in popularity, and this Hackday winner built by one of the members of our founding team presents a view of your LinkedIn network updates integrated in the Chrome browser itself.
  • Instant Search. Our first Hackday winner to leverage our new Javascript API, this project represents sample code on how to build super-fast people search with simple HTML and Javascript.
  • Signal. LinkedIn Signal is technology that we recently unveiled at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010. Discover the power of faceted search over both the LinkedIn stream and tweets shared by our users, and find insights you won’t find anywhere else. John Wang, one of the lead engineers, shares some details about the technology behind Signal that includes JRuby, Scala, Voldemort, Zoie & Bobo.

Please bear in mind that the projects displayed on LinkedIn Labs will vary in terms of support and quality, as they are often intended to demonstrate new concepts and technologies. We hope that by sharing them publicly, these concepts will benefit from the feedback they receive. Some may be live for just a few weeks; others may become a staple on the site. Our goal is to provide a platform where these engineering efforts can more easily be shared with the public.

As a special bonus, the LinkedIn Signal team is providing 500 special invitations to celebrate the launch of LinkedIn LabsFollow this link and sign up, because once they’re gone, they’re gone.