Thoughts, Ideas, and Concepts by Sandra Parks

LinkedIn is hoping to let its users tap into their professional network across the Web.

On Monday, LinkedIn will make its technology available to software developers who want to use it in their own sites and applications. By incorporating information about someone’s professional profile and connections, LinkedIn can make those sites more useful, said Adam Nash, LinkedIn’s vice president of search and platform products.

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s chief executive, has said he wants the site to be the hub of all conversations about business on the Web. LinkedIn’s recent partnership with Twitter was one step in that direction, and this is another. As more businesses use Web-based applications for professional communication, LinkedIn wants to be there, Mr. Nash said.

A few developers have already been experimenting with LinkedIn’s new platform. Microsoft is integrating LinkedIn into its 2010 version of Outlook e-mail. TweetDeck, the Web-based Twitter application, will let people do things like view other Twitter users’ LinkedIn profiles and post and reply to LinkedIn updates from TweetDeck.

LinkedIn has let some companies build applications on its Web site. Amazon.com, for example, shows LinkedIn users which books others in their professional network are reading and lets users post a list of recommended books.

LinkedIn has also let some developers create applications for other Web sites using its technology on a case-by-case basis. Xobni, the Outlook e-mail plug-in, pulls photos and titles from LinkedIn, for example. The New York Times Web site offers readers who are also LinkedIn members a list of articles that pertain to their industry.

“We tried to use each of those partnerships to figure out, where can LinkedIn add the most value to how you use business applications?” Mr. Nash said. “What we see happening is an increasing demand for business applications, and we think that LinkedIn uniquely has the right quality of content.”

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