LinkedIn has announced that it is re-launching the "Contacts" section of its website with expanded capabilities. It is also starting to roll out a standalone iOS app with much of the same functionality.
Wired's Alexandra Chang reported, "LinkedIn wants to help you stay in touch with all your former colleagues, current business partners and potential future employers in a handy web feature and standalone iOS app called LinkedIn Contacts. The professional social network is expanding on its mission to connect the world’s professionals with today’s launch. LinkedIn Contacts lets users collect all their professional contacts culled from various locations — email, address books, calendars, Cardmunch and LinkedIn — in one place and easily reach out to those people at the right times. It shows how much LinkedIn wants to increase engagement and be a part of your daily life."
GigaOm's Eliza Kern explained, "Contacts then lets you sort and filter people based on how often you contact them and lets you add details about your relationship to serve as personal reminders. For instance, I can mark when and where I first met one of my LinkedIn connections, see when I last emailed that person in Gmail, call them on the phone (if they list their number), and see when I last met with them according to my Outlook calendar (if I used one of those)."
TechCrunch's Ingrid Lunden noted, "Sachin Rekhi, the creator of Contacts, says that access to the new Contacts will come in stages: first to a limited number of users in the U.S., then to the rest of the country, and then to the rest of LinkedIn’s user base worldwide. The iPhone app, meanwhile, will be free to download and use with no specific plans for monetizing at the moment. As a point of comparison, the company’s new iPhone and Android apps, introduced last week, are now running a limited number of mobile ads. Contacts is the first big product to come out of LinkedIn’s October 2011 acquisition of Connected, the smart contacts management platform it bought to 'revolutionize contact management' on LinkedIn. Rekhi, the product lead for Contacts, was one of the co-founders of Connected."
Computerworld's Juan Carlos Perez wrote that contacts "was built to have 'personal assistant' qualities, such as the ability to trigger reminders and suggestions, and to also be simple and entertaining to use. 'We're trying to change the game,' said Sachin Rekhi, product lead for LinkedIn Contacts, during a press conference."