LinkedIn Goes Mobile
Users of business-based social networking site LinkedIn can now access their business contacts on their mobile phones.
The world’s largest professional network allows its 19 million members to use a LinkedIn web application via mobile devices with Internet browsers like iPhone and iPod touch, Blackberry, and other web-enabled wireless phones.
The decision to go mobile follows the success of LinkedIn in both the US and the UK. According to Internet analyst company, eMarketer there were more than 405 million mobile Internet users worldwide in 2007. That figure is expected to rise to 489 million in 2008.
Speaking to New Media Knowledge, Dan Nye, LinkedIn CEO, outlined the need for LinkedIn to become mobile. "LinkedIn has developed a mobile WAP application because many of our users are on the move at conferences, seminars or travelling. It makes sense for them to be able to research contacts before they head into a meeting, or simply add connections as they meet people, rather than waiting to get back to the office to log onto LinkedIn," he said.
While some mobile Internet users may be sceptical as to how social networks can be replicated easily on the small screens and cumbersome interfaces of mobile devices, Nye does not expect LinkedIn’s mobile offering to replace its existing services, but complement it.
"A mobile phone is never going to replace the social networking experience on a PC, that’s not the point. An easy-to-use interface specifically adapted to accommodate a mobile’s smaller screen is imperative to succeed. Mobile social networking becomes more about accessibility to key features.
"Handsets such as the iPhone and BlackBerry have made the Internet more accessible than ever on the move. Mobile internet and mobile social networking are both set to be huge growth areas, but there will still be a need for fixed and mobile Internet access," he continued.
The mobile version of the LinkedIn network is currently in its beta stages and users can already search profiles, photos and bio information; research mutual contacts and receive updates on their connections through their mobile phone. The beta version is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese with the final version expected in spring 2008.