LinkedIn sharpens search engine feature

The changes are designed to make it easier for members to find information about jobs, groups, companies and other professionals

LinkedIn has revamped its search engine with changes intended to make it easier for members to find information on the business networking site, whose volume of content has increased and grown more diverse in recent years.

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn initially focused on giving professionals a place to feature their résumés and career bios, as well as connect with peers and colleagues, but the site has progressively become more interactive and houses a much larger repository of data beyond individual profiles.

For example, almost 3 million companies have set up corporate pages, more than 1.5 million groups have been created, the site features a jobs section, and individuals and publishers are able to post and share comments and links to articles.

So it's not surprising for LinkedIn to focus on improving its search engine, which fielded 5.7 billion queries last year.

LinkedIn members have until now had to run separate queries for groups, companies, jobs and other professionals, but that's changing with the upgraded search engine.

"Now, all you need to do is type what you're looking for into the search box and you'll see a comprehensive page of results that pulls content from all across LinkedIn including people, jobs, groups and companies," Johnathan Podemsky, a LinkedIn product manager, wrote in a blog post on Monday.

Users can still segment results, so as to see only job results, for example.

The LinkedIn search engine is also gaining auto-complete and suggested-searches functionalities to help people fine-tune query terms. In addition, the search engine will log members' search queries and "learn" from them in order to deliver more relevant results.

It will also be possible for users to save search queries and be alerted about new or changed search results. The advanced search option has also gained more search filters, including location, company and school.

However, the search engine still doesn't include content from the company's SlideShare site, which about 60 million monthly visitors use to upload, share, rate and comment on primarily slide presentations, but also documents, videos and webinars.

Also, the search improvements are being applied to the main site, not to the mobile apps, although doing so is something the company is looking into, according to a spokeswoman.

LinkedIn started to roll out the new search features on Monday, and expects to finish delivering them to every member worldwide in the coming weeks.

As of the end of 2012, LinkedIn had topped 200 million registered members located in more than 200 countries.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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