LinkedIn Rolling Out Faceted Search!

I’m glad I have a Twitter alert for “faceted search”, since it alerted me (via @getzsch) to a post in TechCrunch announcing that LinkedIn now has a People Search beta that offers faceted search. I can disclose now that I known about this project for a while–they’d reached out to me after I offered a lukewarm review of their search–but I was asked to be discreet about that knowledge.

In any case, I wish I’d known about the beta launch earlier today, when I was looking for Boston-area colleagues to help me publicize the SIGIR Industry Track! The current interface is much more supportive of exploration.

It’s a nice implementation. The interface lets you refine the text search results by location, relationship (1st degree, 2nd degree, group, and other), industry, current / past company, and school. For a facet with a large number of values, like company, the interface only displays the top 10 values, and then lets you use type-ahead to refine by other companies. Unfortunately, the type-ahead was a bit buggy for me–but hey, it is a beta.

The application is fairly responsive, even for my search for “software”, which returns 2.4M results, 120K of which are 2nd-degree connections. Other than at Endeca, I haven’t seen anyone else mix faceted search with social networks, and LinkedIn has done a nice job of it.

So, if anyone from LinkedIn is reading this, congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of faceted search. Count me a delighted customer. I hope my enthusiasm today makes up for my past criticism.

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.

4 replies on “LinkedIn Rolling Out Faceted Search!”

Relatedly, in the upcoming SIGIR’09 conference, there will be a demonstration of a faceted expert search system, allowing users to identify the most suitable experts, using various facets (location, conferences, co-authors, etc.):

Expertise Search in Academia using Facets. Duncan McDougall and Craig Macdonald. In ACM SIGIR 2009, Boston, USA.

The system is currently applied in the context of Academia, but can be expanded to cover people in general.


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