LinkedIn Signal caters to the data-starved

Ronny Kerr · September 29, 2010 · Short URL:

Tons of filters, enhanced search, trending links: Signal could steal some users from Twitter

SignalLinkedIn on Wednesday started rolling out a limited beta of LinkedIn Signal, a feature aimed at giving users the tools to glean the most relevant information and news out of the Twitter-tied stream.

With LinkedIn Signal, one can filter and sort the stream via eight dynamic options: Network, Industry, Company, Time published, Geo / Region, School or just most popular hash tags. Additionally, Signal lets users search by keyword to find who’s talking about a certain topic or by personality to see what someone in particular is talking about.

Borrowing a trick from Twitter and other services dependent on real-time conveyance of the newest updates, LinkedIn Signal displays an alert at the top of a stream when new data is available. No more refreshing for the latest news.

Probably one of the coolest aspects of Signal is Trending Links, a stream of the most recently and popularly shared links in the stream, a feature that sounds a lot like Techmeme, one of news hunters’ most prized Web services. Even better, users can dig deep and see exactly who is sharing those popular links. And, yet another layer of data, the people who shared the link can be sorted by industry, company, and region.

Based on the sheer strength of all these features combined, LinkedIn Signal already looks like it will prove to be an amazingly useful tool for industry analysts and news reporters. In fact, Signal could help increase traffic to LinkedIn, especially if a lot of people used to just link their accounts to Twitter and rarely return except for occasional upkeep of their profiles.

Though LinkedIn and Twitter started sharing streams last November, one imagines that the majority of updates on LinkedIn streams come from Twitter. (We’ve contacted LinkedIn for exact numbers to verify and will update this post when the information comes through.) Perhaps the motivation behind LinkedIn Signal then was to offer something substantial and attractive enough to draw users who would normally just find their information and news from Twitter itself.

Interestingly, Principal Product Manager Esteban Kozak says Signal is “the first of many LinkedIn products” intended to filter out noise from the stream. Feel free to leave a comment with what you think will be LinkedIn’s next noise-reduction strategy.

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