I’m an avid LinkedIn user and fancy myself an expert on search, so I was excited today to see that LinkedIn has officially launched its new search platform. I recommend you watch the four-minute video below to get an overview of the new features.
First, the good news. The interface is slick and streamlined as promised. Type-ahead works smoothly, though it is restricted to the names of your contacts. The in-page options for refining your query by changing the sort or adding parameters are a welcome improvement to their previous interface, which took you to another page to make query modifications. And the presentation of results is clean and effective. Finally, there is a “saved searches” feature that also acts as a running query to alert you to new results. This is a great feature for recruiters.
Now, the bad news. There is still no support for exploratory search. I get 1,198 results when I search for Endeca (your results will depend on your personal network). That’s far too many to look through if I’m trying to establish contacts at a company, and sorting by relevance or relationship strength has limited value. What I’d really like is an overview of those 1,198 people that I can explore–by location, job title, their present and past relationship to Endeca, etc. Faceted search would certainly be more helpful than the unguided parametric search they offer.
I don’t mean to damn LinkedIn with faint praise–this is a significant improvement from the experience they offered before. But I wish that they would recognize the importance of exploratory search in the context of a professional networking site. As it is, they are leaving so much on the table.