Perhaps your most important online network of business contacts is now programmable. LinkedIn launched its API (our LinkedIn API profile), which allows developers to access a user's connections and anyone's profile data, in addition to several other features. Though some are saying "finally," it's clearly not too late for LinkedIn, who aims to be the professional networking platform.
It's been about a year since LinkedIn added the ability for third party apps to play in its profiles. Now it's going the other way, allowing anyone to mix its own content in their site. Using OAuth, your applications can access many of the features your users would use on the main LinkedIn site itself.
- Profile, including either the public view or the more detailed view your user may be allowed to see. Be sure to also check out the fields available.
- Connections, a list of user's contacts
- Status, the Twitter-esque message users update. You can set, clear and retrieve a user's status.
- Search for LinkedIn users with a number of parameters, including name, company and title.
- Invitations can be sent from the API, as well, which means developers can control the entire search, view and friend user experience.
As platforms go, LinkedIn is opening wide. It benefits from updated profiles and additional contacts. And ZDNet says the economy makes the platform a well-timed move for LinkedIn:
LinkedIn has never been more important as the unemployment rate rises. Facebook keeps you up to date, but LinkedIn can help you get a job.
Simply put, LinkedIn may be late, but for the site’s popularity the timing may be just right.
It may be an obvious move and it may be later than others, but at least it is also bold. Many companies shy away from opening up when they launch an API. LinkedIn is making its platform very available, which benefits them at least as much as developers.