LinkedIn Labs are experimental, low-maintenance features that were created for use with LinkedIn. They are similar to applications on an Iphone and even look similar in their formatting of icons in boxes. All of the labs are focused on helping to manage and discover new things through a LinkedIn account. The many different projects are not yet shown on the main LinkedIn website but can be found at www.labs.linkedin.com. These labs were built by employees and feedback is greatly appreciated to see which ones are useful and well liked or to identify those that need to be tweaked or deleted. Every month the LinkedIn employees get together to research and produce new and improved functions which are then posted on the LinkedIn Labs page. The new labs are added very regularly but how long they stay varies. Since these projects are experimental, some labs may be deleted after a few weeks or may become part of the main LinkedIn website in the future based on their popularity. The problem with them not being on the main site is that they aren’t seen by enough people to get an adequate amount of reviewing.
The different labs vary on their usefulness but are all usually interesting and have at least some entertainment value. Some of them were just made for fun and others could be long lasting successful additions. They range from a lab that makes your connections into blocks and puts them into a Tetris game you can play to a search of your connections with immediate results. They are definitely worth checking out and seeing which of the features work for you.
SpeechIn is an application that reads headlines from LinkedIn Today out loud in an automated voice. All the most recent news, based on your industry, can be read aloud from either your computer or mobile phone. The headlines are updated every hour so you are always getting the most up to date information. This is great if you have a commute to work or don’t have time to read through the headlines everyday and would rather have it read to you while you do other things. The voice telling you this information is automated and may not be the most pleasant thing to listen to but it definitely gets the job done.
Year In Review
The Year In Review Lab points out those of your connections that have started something new in the last year. At the top of the page it shows the specific number of people with the pictures below of those who have switched jobs, started a new endeavor, or educational experience. This lab is helpful if you may have missed some of these new additions to your connections profiles. This gives you a reminder of whose profile you may want to take a look at and give congratulations to or possibly contact to provide them with your assistance or see if there is any way their new line of business can help you.
Swarm is a page showing a picturesque background with a constant flow of words or phrases cycling over the scene. All of the words are things that have recently been searched on LinkedIn. The title of the search function is shown at the top of the screen and changes often. People use the search engine on LinkedIn for many productive things such as finding a job, connecting with people in similar business as you, finding others who can help you and your business, marketing yourself and business, and many more uses. Therefore this application shows you the most up to date topics so you can see what is popular at the moment and what others are looking for through LinkedIn. This lab seems to have some worth but you must be a quick reader to see the fast scrolling words. You can slow it down by putting your arrow over words but then you also risk missing others while it is stopped. The usefulness depends on how much time you have to watch the words pass by and what you are looking to get out of it.
Instant Search is a perfect way to find both people within your connections and new possible connections on LinkedIn based any search terms you use. The page for this lab shows just a search bar but from the moment you start typing people start becoming listed below based on the words you use. The people shown are all either your first or second connections and each person that matches your search has their own box with their name, picture, tagline, and location written. You can use just one word or multiple words and phrases to either have a either a broad or narrowed search. This application is extremely useful in finding certain people who you would like to contact or in finding new people to become connected with who are only your immediate connections are already linked with.
The NewIn lab gives a visualization of new users all over the world joining LinkedIn. It is fascinating to see the vast amount of people joining every minute and even more appealing because it uses Google Earth to show the location of each additional member. It requires having the Google Earth Plug In which you are prompted to download immediately after clicking on the lab if you don’t already have it. This is great for those involved in marketing, however may not be accommodating for anyone else. While it is amusing for a short period of time, it can become dull after a while of staring continually at the Earth with random names being pinpointed. It is also almost impossible to read their entire tagline before moving to the next person.
Signal is a stream of your connections updates. It shows what they are saying and putting on LinkedIn including statuses from twitter of those who choose to stream those to their LinkedIn page. It is extremley helpful to see all of the most recent news your connections are sharing all in one place instead of going to everyone’s pages separately. There are some very functional components of this lab such as being able to filter people by region, company, industry, etc. Signal also allows you to find new people to become linked with based on who you are already connected with. You can even do searches and save searches within these second connections for specific phrases or terms that would find people you would want to connect with.
InMaps examines all the connections on your LinkedIn profile and comes up with a map showing the extensive, intertwining links that have been created through your account. Each person is shown as a dot on the map and is linked with a line. They add some color to identify different networks, make it more organized, and visually appealing. There is also a function that enables people’s personalized labeling of networks. Zooming in and out of the different connections is both entertaining and informative in seeing how many people you are able to reach through one website.
For those people who don’t already have a resume, or who have a resume that isn’t up to date or professional then this application is for you. This application takes all of the information you have already put onto your LinkedIn profile and makes it into a professional resume that you can use. There are many different template options that include classic, modern, business, executive, law, etc. so you can customize your resume for the style you want to portrait. After picking a template there is the opportunity to edit your information and pick which sections to include. Finally, you can put it into PDF form, have a custom link, or print it to share with anyone you choose. For those who want the simplified way to make a resume, this is extremely helpful.
LinkedIn Labs Connection Timeline allows you to see who you have become linked with and when. This lab pulls information from your profile and puts your education, organizations, and jobs on a timeline. When you press play, your profile picture scrolls across your timeline and shows the connections you made during your time on LinkedIn. While it is interesting to see, it may not be vital or extremely helpful.