During the final day of TechCrunch Disrupt, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner announced the limited release of a new product called Signal. It's a beta product that helps you find information and news "most relevant to you as a professional."
Here are the primary features of Signal in the limited beta:
Filters - Sharpen your feed of random updates and links into something you can use to help your business. The information is there and LinkedIn now offers eight dynamic filters to help you find it.
Search - Find information on keywords, topics or people across your stream. Because of LinkedIn's nature, you can quickly find relevant info about specific people and brands.
Real-time - You can see an auto-updating stream of the rich content posted by LinkedIn users. You don't have to refresh the page, but you do have to click (I don't consider that real-time, but I digress).
Trending Links - LinkedIn Signal mines all shared links on status updates so that you can see which are most popular in relation to your searches. Think Tweetmeme for LinkedIn updates.
Who's Shared This? - In addition to seeing what links are popular, you can see who shared those links to make them popular. You can even refine this list by industry, company and region. "Imagine if you wrote a blog post on your company’s blog or were quoted in a news article, you can now see who’s shared that article and made it popular."
Once you've drilled down to the specific data you're looking for, you can save it as a real-time stream. For instance, you could use this to keep track of what your colleagues are doing or what's going on at some company you're interested in. Evelyn Rusli of TechCrunch outlines another interesting scenario:
Beyond a curiosity, I could see this becoming an interesting tool for researchers and professionals, especially journalists like myself. For example, if the CEO of a multi-billion dollar technology company was abruptly ousted by his board (not thinking of anyone in particular here), within seconds, I could find out what that company’s employees were saying about the CEO and what links they were pointing to.
This is an interesting move by LinkedIn in its quest to become more relevant. For most of us, it's just a Rolodex. There isn't much real interaction going on their and most users don't even bother visiting the site. This also highlights how powerful it is for a service to gather information on its users. LinkedIn Signal draws most of its power from the information fed to it by about 70 million users during the past seven years.