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LinkedIn’s New Search Platform: A Review

November 25th, 2008 · 1 Comment · General

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.

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Why LinkedIn Frustrates Me | The Noisy Channel // Mar 31, 2009 at 11:03 am

    [...] With that preamble out of the way, I’d like to vent a bit about LinkedIn’s approach to search. Directories are a poster-child domain for faceted search. LinkedIn specifically has high-quality semi-structured data, since users are personally incented to optimize their own findability. Moreover, the process doesn’t even seem adversarial–I haven’t seen any Joe the Scammer claiming to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company (oops, bad example). LinkedIn has done the best job I’ve seen of aggregating high-quality data about people’s professional history–in a volume that is not only unprecedented but more importantly is large enough to be broadly useful. And the site designers clearly care about search: they still proclaim above the search box, “New Improved Search!” (see my earlier review here). [...]

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