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Revamped LinkedIn apps crib Facebook's mobile style

LinkedIn's newly revamped mobile apps blow away their predecessors, but bear a striking resemblance to another big-name social network.

Professional social network LinkedIn is makeover kick as the company looks to emphasize the social sharing aspects of its business-focused service.

After revamping the LinkedIn home page and user profile pages in 2012, the company today unveiled a brand new mobile app redesign for Android and iOS devices--its first since 2011. This time around, LinkedIn's putting your update stream front-and-center, Facebook style. It's a huge improvement for LinkedIn fans and another reason for LinkedIn doubters to give the social network a second look.

Here are some impressions of the new app after spending time with LinkedIn for Android on a Nexus 7 and an aging Nexus One running Gingerbread 2.3

All about the stream

When you first open the new LinkedIn app you are immediately greeted with your update stream, similar to the Web version of LinkedIn.

At the top, you'll see a link to LinkedIn Today new stories that are recommended for you. Below that are recommended jobs and the latest updates from your network, such as people who have new connections. The bulk of the update stream, however, is populated with personal updates--general comments, linked news stories, or any other status messages from your connections and any companies you follow. LinkedIn's app update adds the ability to like and comment on shared links and status updates right from the update stream.

A search icon sits in the upper-right corner of the stream, next to a message icon that lets you add a new status update of your own. If you're using a newer Android device you will also see the now-familiar three-square icon grid in the far-right corner, which lets you access settings and manually refresh your feed.

Navigating the app

If you tap on the "in" icon at the top left of the update stream, the app reveals a navigation bar.

By default, you only see links to your update stream, your profile, people you may know, and jobs. You can also add links to your groups, companies you're following, news from LinkedIn Today, your connections, groups you may like, and your recent activity using the "Add Shortcut" option.

You can't move navigation bar items around, but a long press will let you delete most of your navigation items, with the exception of the home button and the link to your profile. The home link features constant updates from your stream. It moves a little too quickly for my tastes, but the concept is nice.

At the very top of the navigation bar, there's an envelope icon to take you to your inbox to check out LinkedIn invitations and private messages. There's also a flag icon to let you check your notifications, and the far right corner of the navigation bar features a quick link to the app's settings.

Those are the big changes to the new LinkedIn app. In addition to the new features, you can also incorporate your mobile calendar as before, as well as sync contacts from your address book.

LinkedIn's new mobile revamp comes as it is getting serious about mobile products. The company recently acquired Pulse, a newsreader that presents articles in a highly visual format similar to Flipboard. LinkedIn is also getting set to incorporate ads into its mobile apps, according to a Reuters report Thursday. A LinkedIn representative was unavailable for comment at this writing.

Beyond Android and iOS, on Tuesday, LinkedIn released an incremental update to its Windows Phone app, including resizable live tiles and support for high resolution images. In late March, LinkedIn also released an improved search tool for the Web version of the social network.


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