Revamped LinkedIn Pulse App To Spark Connection EngagementComments Off

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LinkedIn launched a new, standalone version of its Pulse news-reading app on Wednesday aimed at giving users a better-tailored reading experience and more reasons to strike up conversations with their LinkedIn connections.

Because it can be tough to sift through all of the day’s news, Pulse is intended to give users the articles they should read to adeptly handle water-cooler talk at work and to know which stories are popular among people in their industry, Akshay Kothari, lead product manager at LinkedIn and cofounder of Pulse, said in an interview.

For the new app, Pulse integrated with another LinkedIn acquisition Newsle to recommend articles that include mentions of a user’s company or contacts, and to power alerts for articles that include users’ connections. While content in the original Pulse app is limited to the publishers users follow, on the new app, users don’t need to follow any accounts or fill out profiles when they sign-in. The new app will automatically begin curating what is relevant to you professionally based on your LinkedIn profile and Newsle’s tools, Kothari said. Users still log in to Pulse with their LinkedIn accounts.

“I’m very excited to announce the launch of fully redesigned Pulse mobile apps,” Kothari said in a post. ”Instead of slapping features on to the old reader app, we decided to completely redesign the new Pulse experience from the ground up. The new Pulse app focuses on delivering you personalized news—news that is powered by your professional world.”

Among free iOS news apps, Pulse ranked seventh in App Annie’s total download charts on Wednesday, below Flipboard and above The New York Times’ breaking news app. The top-ranking free iOS news app on Wednesday was CNN, followed by Yahoo and AOL.

LinkedIn bought Pulse in 2013 for about $90 million when the app had about 30 million downloads. Pulse’s integration with Newsle began about a year ago, after LinkedIn acquired Newsle for its ability to comb through the Internet and send users articles that include mentions of people they know. The new Pulse app represents the first time two LinkedIn acquisitions have been integrated into a single product. The original app will continue working until the end of this year, but the new app is available for download on iOS and Android starting Wednesday, the company said.

Pulse leverages what Kothari calls the “deep identity data” of LinkedIn’s more than 360 million users. Signing in gives the app to access your work history and connections, and future updates to the app will likely also deliver articles based on users’ geography, job title and skills, Kothari said.

The new app also features a noticeable re-design that presents articles chronologically, makes images and headlines larger and includes a line with each article telling the reader why the article was recommended, for example, because the story is trending among colleagues. Users have the option to pass on or save articles in the new app, which helps inform future recommendations.

Spurring Messaging

One of the main purposes of the integration, engineering manager and Newsle cofounder Axel Hansen said, is to deliver articles to readers that create natural reasons to get in touch with their LinkedIn contacts, whether former colleagues or college roommates. Showing readers articles with mentions of people they know and sending them push alerts for those stories are key features of the new app, Hansen said. He estimates that every week, tens of millions of LinkedIn members know someone who is mentioned in an article.

“Our goal at Newsle has always been to help you recognize the accomplishments of our connections and the people important to you,” Hansen said. “The best use case of a Newsle article is when you get the opportunity to reach out to someone. When you read an article about someone’s accomplishments, it’s a great way to start a conversation.”

Users on the new app can still follow publishers and authors as they can in the original app. Many features of the Pulse app also influence what appears in the main feed of LinkedIn.com, the company said.

“We’re starting to see this magic happen where LinkedIn has the professional identity, Pulse provides the content experience and Newsle is providing the content understanding,” Kothari said. “LinkedIn, Pulse and Newsle are all focused on the professional use case. You’re never going to see us recommending cat videos.”

Many of the stories on Pulse are drawn from the 130,000 original posts LinkedIn members publish per month. Popular article topics on the app are tech, leadership or development. The app also hosts a considerable amount of long form content, based on personal experience or analysis of news events, Kothari said.

“Content consumption on LinkedIn has been on a tear,” Kothari said.

Bringing Pulse and Newsle Together

Because Pulse and Newsle were both created with the goal of curating content for users, integrating was a natural step, Hansen said. Both cofounders emphasized how LinkedIn’s data made their apps more powerful. Before being acquired, Pulse knew little about who its users were, Kothari said. For Newsle, LinkedIn offered a clear list of users’ contacts, as well as helpful databases about companies.

“Identity was a big missing piece in our puzzle,” Kothari said. “That’s why we were so excited to join hands with LinkedIn.”

Pulse was built in a class at Stanford University’s design school in 2010 with the goal of streamlining the news-reading experience. Pulse also wanted to make it faster to load stories, especially when many news sites weren’t optimized for mobile phones, Kothari said.

Hansen said Pulse and Newsle have held onto their startup-mentalities, which helped make coding more efficient. Making the new app required overcoming some technical challenges, such as the fact that Newsle is coded in Python and LinkedIn is mostly programmed in Java and Scala. Kothari said nearly all of the original members of Pulse and Newsle are still employees at LinkedIn.

“We both still have this hungry startup attitude,” Hansen said. “Working on a new product means testing lots of things and doing that quickly.”

The Pulse integration is the first time Newsle has been baked into a consumer-facing LinkedIn product, and there might be more Newsle integrations to come, Hansen said.

“The new Pulse app is a window into the future of content across LinkedIn,”  Kothari said. “We’re really excited to be able to connect the right story to each of these members.”

Talent HQ is a premier information channel and empowers education for the recruiting and HR communities through regional events including Minnesota RecruitersWisconsin Recruiters and California Recruiters. This article was written by Kathleen Chaykowski from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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  • Posted on: Wednesday, June 17th, 2015