Earlier this week, LinkedIn announced that its Developer platform was open for business. While developers have been able to build applications within LinkedIn for awhile, with this announcement came the ability for developers to pull LinkedIn data into external applications. And some already have: the very day that the platform was launched publicly, Tweetdeck announced LinkedIn integration in their next launch.
With this announcement, will we soon see “LinkedIn Connect” join the ranks of Google Friend Connect, Facebook Connect and MySpace ID? Do we need such a thing?
Back in April, Ben Parr compared Facebook Connect with Sign in with Twitter over on Mashable, and the comparison is worth referring to now. Parr examined both the technical differences between the services (Sign in with Twitter uses oauth, as will tapping into LinkedIn) as well as the level of information each service offered access to. Obviously, Facebook has much more detailed information about its members, so there is more information to tap into, and integration can be deep. Every few months, Mashable puts out a list of Impressive New Implementations of Facebook Connect, as an example of what’s possible.
LinkedIn profiles are very robust themselves, and there are some interesting opportunities to use this educational/employment information elsewhere online. I think it’s also important to consider that LinkedIn may have a different userbase with different goals. Some individuals may be interested in building out their professional profile online, with little or no interest for “less-professional” social networking. These individuals may have no desire to fill out new profiles on different sites, even if they are work-related. Being able to “Log in via LinkedIn” means they don’t need to re-enter this information for it to be available to others within the community.
Obviously, I have a robust online presence, including this blog. When I leave a comment elsewhere online, it is tied to this online presence. For those for whom LinkedIn is their primary presence online, it will be beneficial if a blog comment can be tied to that profile. Just as someone can follow the URL I leave to learn more about me, allowing LinkedIn users an easy way to “Login via LinkedIn” to leave blog comments would help establish reputation. I’m eagerly awaiting the development of a WordPress LinkedIn Commenter Plugin. Anyone, anyone?