Professional social network LinkedIn has launched a developer platform as well as a redesign of its website.

As previously outlined by CEO Dan Nye, the new “Intelligent Application” platform will not be as open as that of rival Facebook, and will be limited to ‘business productivity applications’.

The platform will enable developers to:

  • Integrate LinkedIn into their applications

    Developers will be able to access information from the site’s user network to add LinkedIn features to their own websites.

    For instance, BusinessWeek has added a new feature to its website to show how LinkedIn connects readers to people and companies it has written about in its articles.

  • Integrate applications into LinkedIn
    Developers are able to write business-orientated applications for use on the company’s website. LinkedIn will be supporting Google’s OpenSocial platform for this purpose.

    The site’s users will be able to add modules to their profile pages. One such example is the ‘company news’ application that displays the news articles that colleagues are reading:

LinkedIn company news

User profile pages can also now be customised, and modules can be added or removed. LinkedIn has also simplified navigation, with just five buttons at the top of the homepage instead of the previous ten.

LinkedIn homepage

LinkedIn has increased its user numbers rapidly this year, and grew faster than Facebook in October. It now has around 17m registered users, 5m of which are in the US.

This is an interesting move for the network – the new modules add value to the site for users, while allowing LinkedIn to be integrated into applications on third-party sites could be a very effective way of increasing its reach.

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