LinkedIn has just introduced Contacts. The retooled feature for the professional service is both a tab on the LinkedIn.com website and standalone app for iPhone.
“We’re trying to change the game for LinkedIn,” said LinkedIn Contacts product lead Sachin Rekhi in a call about the new product.
“This is the first time LinkedIn is introducing a standalone app in addition to our suite of [core] mobile applications.”
Contacts, long a part of LinkedIn’s service, epitomizes the age-old business axiom: It’s not what you know; it’s who you know. The new app shows you who you know — and how you know them — as well as who you ought to keep in closer contact with.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Contacts integrates with business card scanner CardMunch, Evernote, calendars, email applications, and other contact-relevant software. Rather than automatically sorting your contacts alphabetically, Contacts will sort the people you know based on how recently you were in touch with them — be that via in-person meeting as noted on your calendar or via email or phone.
There’s also a cool “lost touch” feature that shows you people you’ve lost touch with. You can set email reminders to get back in touch with people periodically, and you can get reminders to connect on LinkedIn with new non-LinkedIn contacts — people whose information you may have stored in other applications.
Finally, the automatically created “relationship module” for profiles will show you how you know someone and the details of your relationship.
Overall, like most of LinkedIn’s more in-depth tools, the Contacts app and tab seem really great for people who make a living based on relationships — recruiters, sales people, executives. Elementary school teachers or auto mechanics, not so much. But it’s a feature set that’s perfect for LinkedIn’s core, paying audience members.
Android and mobile web are “important next steps,” said Rekhi. “It’s definitely something we’re working on.”