LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, has been rolling out a major update. This one involves the Contacts section and integration with popular apps from Google, Yahoo, Evernote, and Outlook as well as a new LinkedIn iPhone App as a standalone offering.
This is a huge update that will put LinkedIn into a new category of social networking sites, allowing it to be both a collaborative tool and a personal assistant on smart phones and more. The new iPhone app is a Contacts app only, meaning it integrates with the phone’s internal contacts list and adds in the user’s LinkedIn contacts (emails, phones, etc.) to make it a sort of professional personal assistant.
The new Contacts on the site will become available in stages, rolling out to limited numbers of users in the U.S., spreading through North America and then the globe over the coming weeks. The iPhone app will be free to download sometime in that period. The Contacts feature comes from LinkedIn’s acquisition of Connected in 2011.
Current reports are that Contacts will keep work (LinkedIn) and personal (phone) contacts separate from one another, but cross-referenced and capable of being used in tandem. It’s all part of LinkedIn’s plan to continue being the professional network for users by helping manage and interact with people users know professionally.
Integration with apps for easier collaboration will include Gmail, Google Contacts, Google Calendar; Google Apps Mail, Contacts, Calendar; Yahoo! Mail, Contacts, Calendar; Outlook Mail, Contacts, Calendar; iPhone Address Book (via the LinkedIn Contacts app); LinkedIn’s CardMunch service; Evernote and TripIt. Outlook Contacts CSV, Mac Address Book vCard and Yahoo! Contacts CSV.