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Linkedin, a social networking site for people looking to connect with other professionals, is launching a new feature, called Signal, that will help users manage their news feeds on the main website. Jeff Weiner, the CEO of Linkedin, announced the launch of Signal at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco today.
The revamped news feed allows users to show links and content from people in specific networks, companies and other filters. Users can also type in keywords — such as “TechCrunch Disrupt” or “video games” — and filter news feed posts based on those keywords. Trending links from others in the filter or in a user’s network are also featured on a rail running down the right side of the screen — and users can see which people are sharing the links, both on their network and on others.
The new feature fits into Weiner’s expectation for the next big phase of the internet — extracting a signal from the noise that has come from the rise of social networks like Facebook and Linkedin. So far, web content has experienced three massive shifts in content delivery, he said. The first method of content delivery, web portals like Yahoo.com, wasn’t scalable but was effective because it had an actual person managing the content. After that, search engines made the whole process highly scalable but removed humans from the equation, meaning content delivery was efficient for facts but not for subjective content. Social networks arose out of the need to efficiently find subjective content but have resulted in an explosion of information. Weiner says Signal is designed to control that explosion and open the doors on a “fourth wave” of content delivery.
“We’ve seen an explosion of information generated by users, which is great, we love growth but it can get a little out of control,” said Esteban Kozak, principal product manager for Linkedin’s homepage and activity streams. “Our goal with Signal is to refine the entire stream into a very narrow slice of data that users actually care about.”
Weiner was mum about Linkedin’s plans to go public despite the site recently reaching 80 million users. Signal has entered into a closed beta of sorts for TechCrunch Disrupt attendees, but Kozak expects it to be rolled out for everyone by the end of the year.
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