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.