LinkedIn's made mobile a major focus over the last year, and today the company is announcing a number of new mobile initiatives. At an event in San Francisco, CEO Jeff Weiner and the rest of his mobile team unveiled a brand-new, completely redesigned tablet app for the iPad and a major update to Pulse, the news reader app that LinkedIn purchased back in April. Additionally, the company launched a "new new product": LinkedIn Intro. It's a way to integrate LinkedIn's information right into the Apple Mail app — it pulls almost the entire LinkedIn profile for anyone who contacts you right into the Mail app. It works with Gmail, Google Apps, AOL mail, Yahoo mail, and iCloud.
The service is built on Rapportive, a social email service that LinkedIn bought way back in February of 2012. Essentially, when you get an email, there's a button below the sender that shows his company and position, assuming he has a LinkedIn account. If you tap that info, it'll expand and give you a full view of that contact's experience, connections, and more. To set it up, you just need to go to intro.linkedin.com and go through a few steps to set up an account that's compatible with Intro.
As for Pulse, LinkedIn now calls it the only content brand for its service. You can now log into Pulse with your LinkedIn ID and it'll start suggesting things for you to follow based on your LinkedIn behavior. The app itself has been completely redesigned in a more modern, iOS 7-inspired aesthetic. There's also a special commenting section that again runs off LinkedIn — you can see LinkedIn members and their networks as part of the commenting system, and you can easily share any article from Pulse to your LinkedIn network (as well as other social networks). It's not available quite yet, but the app will be launching soon for iOS and Android.
There's also a new iPad app available that features a completely new interface with an iOS 7-inspired design and a host of new features specifically for the tablet. The interface "brings people to the surface" to let you see what your network is up to and to easily add more members. There's also a nice, swipe-based gesture system that lets you like, comment, share, and add new members right from the feed. There's also a redesigned search experience for the iPad that makes job searches a major It's a nice-looking redesign, and it should be available later today.
Update: We just took a quick look at LinkedIn Intro, and it's a fairly unobtrusive addition to your inbox. Essentially, the service pulls in any publicly available information from a LinkedIn profile and adds it to the Apple Mail app. If a sender doesn't have a LinkedIn account, you won't see anything, but if they do you'll see their job title and company — you can tap to expand and see more info. LinkedIn told us that it's set up by installing a provisioning app when you visit Intro. LinkedIn.com and that LinkedIn doesn't have any access to your email account itself.
The update to Pulse doesn't change the core experience of the app in any major way, it just layers LinkedIn into it — if you want. You're free to use it without a LinkedIn account, but if you log in, it'll populate your account with any content sources you already follow on LinkedIn. The other major new feature is a commenting section where people can discuss the articles right on Pulse, with their LinkedIn accounts serving as the user identity.
The new iPad app is certainly a well-designed update, as well — it's stylish and easy to use. Content written by LinkedIn's influencer network is surfaced based on your interested (as well as anything you've already signed up for) and the reading experience is quite immersive. There's a persistent navigation bar that shows your companies, profiles, groups, contacts, and so forth, and it puts those most relevant to you based on your behavior right up front for quick access. Lastly, search has been updated to include jobs, companies, and groups in addition to contacts.
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