New Menu Bar:LinkedIn has changed its menu bar to simplify the site and update the site’s look. Now, there is a two-level menu that hides the extra options when not in use. It’s more streamlined, but a couple of items have become harder to find, such as Recommendations and Skills & Expertise.
New Contacts section: Now the contacts within LinkedIn can be integrated live to other services such as Gmail, Google Contacts, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook Mail and many others. With this improvement, your contacts are automatically updated when anyone updates when a link of yours updates their own contact information. This reduces the need to constantly download contact information from your network on LinkedIn, thus saving time and the potential loss of information.
LinkedIn Today Channels: This is a social news page which brings together curated content that is now focused on general topics (over 20 including healthcare, technology, marketing and others) from ‘influencers’ that LinkedIn considers influential. The Channels are meant to be more interdisciplinary and can be used as learning tools for people not already in the industry
Improved “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section: In the updated “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section, free users see samples of who has recently looked at their profiles with a some data on the side showing minimal analytics. Premium users see the historical data for who has been viewing their profile (up to 90 days) and the search terms, industries and geographies from whence they came. This useful for power users who are trying to aggressively network (such as job seekers or sales professionals) as this data can give insights into how people are finding you within LinkedIn.
The goal of these updates is clearly to try to increase the amount of time users are spending on LinkedIn. I find myself spending more time on LinkedIn due to the LinkedIn Today Channels since the articles by the thought leaders can be quite relevent to me, and the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section is neat to look at as I’m sure I’m not the only person curious about who is searching for me. I haven’t taken advantage yet of the new contacts section. Overall, I like the changes, although they are making the LinkedIn screen somewhat cluttered at times. I imagine LinkedIn will work out some of these quirks to improve the experience further. Stay tuned.