The major business networking sites LinkedIn and Xing are quick in providing one feature after another to out-do each other in the struggle for increasing their member bases and market share.
Less than two weeks ago did Xing announce the partnership with ZoomInfo, which has the goal to expand the reach of Xing and the information accessible from within the network.
LinkedIn announced this weekend a very interesting new feature that is in the making.
The announcement stated that LinkedIn will open up their network and plans to deliver an API for developers. It is supposed to happen over the next nine months.
I just wrote about Plaxo 3 Beta and its synchronization feature for LinkedIn. Plaxo supported this with its current version for a couple months already. I wonder if they are using a beta version of the LinkedIn API for this. I would not be surprised. May the partnership with Plaxo was the trigger for this. It certainly gave the LinkedIn management some new ideas.
The technical details of the API are not known yet. It will be interesting to know, if it is an open API that any company can use (I am thinking about Xing here :)), or if it will be restricted to manually approved developers and companies only.
Depending on how flexible the API is and how much will be accessible and manageable via the interface could the possible use of it be very broad and wide spread. I could imagine a Facebook plug-in that lets you connect with Facebook friends via LinkedIn as well. Also better plug-ins than the LinkedIn one for MS Outlook would be a good use for the API. Business development solutions like ACT could profit from an API like this. It could connect the desktop application to LinkedIn and show if a connection already exists and initiate an invitation if it does not.
I am now waiting for the news that Xing also develops an API. It would make sense for them too. We will see what will happen.
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