LinkedIn, the networking site for business professionals, has opened its service to outside developers to create new applications and productivity tools.
It hopes to attract developers through a new program called its Intelligent Applications platform. The program will let outside developers create software for LinkedIn as well as embed features of LinkedIn, such as finding business contacts, directly from partner Web sites, Reuters reported.
LinkedIn is also participating in Google's OpenSocial developer network that seeks to create a way for all developers to write software that will work on all platforms. MySpace is also a member of OpenSocial, Reuters said.
Lucian Beebe, LinkedIn's director of product management, outlined LinkedIn's plan in a blog.
"There is a compelling opportunity to build on the LinkedIn platform, whether you are trying to augment your application with LinkedIn features or deliver your application into the LinkedIn Web site," Beebe said. "LinkedIn is a business network of nearly 17 million professionals, growing faster than one million new members per month. And people use LinkedIn for one purpose: to improve the way they do business," Beebe added. "Have a great business-focused application? Something that improves productivity? You won't find a more receptive or larger professional audience than you will at LinkedIn."
LinkedIn will open its service to developers, starting with BusinessWeek magazine, to change from an online contacts and referral database into a tool for business users.
The partnership with McGraw-Hill's BusinessWeek will link keywords, such as company names, to the LinkedIn service. Visitors to the BusinessWeek site that place their mouse pointers over certain keywords will trigger a pop-up box detailing how many of their LinkedIn contacts are related to the company or keyword.
Reuters contributed to this story