LinkedIn's Intelligent Application Platform

December 10, 2007

Several months ago, we announced we are working on APIs and a platform strategy for software developers to integrate with LinkedIn and display their application within LinkedIn. With the OpenSocial announcements, you can now see a lot more about how you can write applications that run inside LinkedIn. So, if you are a developer, what opportunities do you now have?

The Opportunity

There is a compelling opportunity to build on the LinkedIn platform, whether you are trying to augment your application with LinkedIn features or deliver your application into the LinkedIn web site. LinkedIn is a business network of nearly 17 million professionals, growing faster than one million new members per month. And people use LinkedIn for one purpose: to improve the way they do business. Have a great business-focused application? Something that improves productivity? You won’t find a more receptive or larger professional audience than you will at LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn, you will get that productivity application in front of more people faster than any other way on the Internet.

One Platform, Two Uses

The LinkedIn Intelligent Application platform enables two things:

•    Bring LinkedIn to your application. Using LinkedIn APIs and widgets, you will be able to integrate LinkedIn into your application by accessing information from a LinkedIn user’s network. Using this model, you can augment your web site with LinkedIn features, creating more utility on your site and the chance to stand out from the crowd.

•    Bring your application to LinkedIn. You will be able to write professionally-oriented applications that run inside for maximum visibility in a purely business network. We have announced support for Google’s OpenSocial platform and will add other models in the future.

APIs and widgets bring LinkedIn to your application

Over the past months we have been talking to hundreds of partners about how they would like to integrate LinkedIn into their applications. It’s become clear that there is a very strong need to let LinkedIn users take their network with them as they use the web to be more productive. Most every task we do on the web could be augmented by including the help, filter, or aggregate knowledge or our professional network.

So, we will provide a set of REST APIs and widgets that will let you build applications that include your user’s LinkedIn network. For example, when someone comes to your application and authorizes your application to use their LinkedIn account, you’ll be able to use their profile, their network, other LinkedIn profiles, network update feeds, and many other aspects of their LinkedIn account to enrich your application with pure professional networking.

The Open Social platform brings your application to LinkedIn

You will be able to build and run applications inside LinkedIn. We have announced support for Google’s Open Social platform and will include other ways in the future as well. In this model, you’ll be able to create an application that uses your own UI and back end and is augmented with the LinkedIn APIs. These applications will display within the web site and will be aware of the current LinkedIn user and his/her network. You’ll be able to create applications that run on user’s home and profile pages and more in the future.

But to leverage this distribution engine, you have to have a business productivity application. We recognize that business people have social lives and there are places for that. LinkedIn will remain focused on improving the productivity of people doing business and we’ll work with people fitting that standard.

Contacting Us

We’ll be phasing all of this in over the coming months and to get involved with the Intelligent Application Platform either for APIs, widgets, or hosted applications.

If you want to develop an integration on your application or website, go here

If you want to develop an application that runs on LinkedIn, go here

Related coverage:

1. WebWare -
LinkedIn debuts developer platform, revamps home page
2. Reuters - LinkedIn courts developers, lands Business Week
3. TechCrunch - LinkedIn API and the new homepage drawing near
4. Venture Beat - LinkedIn launches platform, redesign - a better business social network

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