LinkedIn Turns 7 Year Old Today

LinkedIn didn’t gain much popularity until 3-4 years ago but it is a fact that this professional social network is older than most of the major sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. LinkedIn was officially launched on 5th May 2003 and here is a screenshot of how it looked back then:

Even though LinkedIn only has a little over 50 Million users compared to Facebook’s 500 Million, it is highly targeted towards professionals and offers much more serious networking opportunities. LinkedIn has an estimated valuation of over $1 Billion now which will only grow with time. One thing that might have kept LinkedIn’s growth sluggish for a while is lack of third-party apps and plugins to expand the network’s functionality. Something that helped Facebook and Twitter tremendously in achieving an exponential growth in their early years.

The news about 7th birthday was revealed by a Tweet from a senior LinkedIn executive, and was celebrated in the India office. What do you think about LinkedIn’s current direction and market position? Do you think Facebook might step over their boundry soon with a professional version?

Google Displaying Facebook Friends and LinkedIn Profile Details In Search Results

While routinely searching for a person on Google, I came across a new feature in Google Search where Google is displaying friends for a particular user in the search results.

Google Facebook Friends in Results

As you can see from the screenshot above, searching for my own name resulted in the following search results, the more interesting thing though is that Google is also displaying names of friends from Facebook (the above account is not mine though and belongs to another Keith D’souza).

The friend list snippet is displayed for public Facebook profiles of users, it is not available for Facebook users who have disabled third party sites from accessing their information. Here is another example for a search I did for Robert Scoble.

Robert Scoble Facebook Friends Google Search

Google did not display the Facebook Friends for Amit Agarwal, which might suggest that there are privacy settings restricting it. However, it did display the LinkedIn Profile information for the same search.

Amit Agarwal LinkedIn Profile Details in Google Search

Why would Google want to display Facebook Friends in search results? The only reason I can think of right now is to allow users to see find people based on common friends. This could also mean that Google is trying to make it easier for people to find and connect with others through search results.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to remove this information from the search results at Google. You will have to explicitly change the settings in Facebook and LinkedIn to make the information more private.

What do you think about the new additions to the search results? Do you think it would be helpful in finding the correct person? Or do you think that it is an invasion of your privacy?