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Kill time between meetings with LinkedIn's smarter mobile search

Watch out, Facebook. LinkedIn might be focusing on the professional networking space right now, but the 10-year-old company is racing to add better features and more content with a mobile focus that positions the network to make a play for those big ad bucks.

LinkedIn a few months back overhauled its iOS and Android apps with new looks that turned the stodgy social network into a streamlined smartphone experience. But the apps were missing some Web-only features, like advanced search results. LinkedIn on Tuesday rolled out an update that lets mobile users search for companies, groups, and jobs as opposed to just people.

The new features will show up in as separate tabs, so you can search for a company within different categories to get different types of results. A search for TechHive in People will turn up employees, and the same search in Jobs will find open positions.

The company is positioning its apps as productive time-fillers, ways to "get the most professional value out of those mundane moments," LinkedIn mobile product lead Tomer Cohen wrote in a Tuesday blog post.

The search for social domination

Social networks are competing to offer better search results--while search engines are trying to become more social--but those efforts rarely translate to mobile. It took LinkedIn months to bring its advanced desktop search features to its apps.

But the network has carved out a niche that other sites just don't have, going from a glorified resume site to full-fledged professional network over the course of 10 years (and growing more attractive with age, too). LinkedIn now boasts more than 225 million users and has been ramping up efforts to grow (and make money) in the two years since its initial public offering.

Aside from search, LinkedIn's most significant move this year was its acquisition of newsreading start-up Pulse. The network used that purchase to enhance its content focus, including an Influencer feed of professional advice from famous entrepreneurs.

Original content, better search results, and a stream filled with not just your friends, but people who can actually help you...well, LinkedIn is poised to become a social network with real purpose.

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