LinkedIn aims to make email more professional, with LinkedIn Intro

The tool adds more professional information to emails

LinkedIn wants to help people get a job and advance their careers by incorporating its services into their mobile email.

On Wednesday the company announced the availability of LinkedIn Intro, which is designed to take some of the key functions of the site and incorporate them into users' regular email on their iPhones.

When a user has LinkedIn Intro installed, certain information from an email sender, like where that person works, past job experience, and even where they went to school, will appear in the email. Users can click on the sender's name and see all the information without leaving the email. There is also a button to connect with the person.

The service is available starting Wednesday for the iPhone's mail application, and it supports several email services: Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, iCloud and Google Apps.

LinkedIn hopes the service will provide users with some better context to read and respond to certain messages on their phones, without having to visit LinkedIn's site externally. The technology builds from LinkedIn's acquisition last year of Rapportive, a company that adds information to people's profiles in email.

LinkedIn Intro was unveiled Wednesday to the media at a press event in San Francisco as part of the company's larger strategy to take better advantage of the consumer trend to mobile use.

Email is the number one mobile activity, according to LinkedIn. Today, more than 50 percent of people read emails on their mobile phones, up from less than 5 percent four years ago, the company said.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner described the company as being in the midst of a "mobile moment."

Mobile is an important part of LinkedIn's business. About 38 percent of the site's 230 million-plus members visit LinkedIn from mobile devices, up from 8 percent less than three years ago, Weiner reported Wednesday.

LinkedIn also launched a new version of its iPad app during the show, including several new features like focusing the central feed more around people, and adding a new tool to search for jobs. There also is a new "channel" bar at the top of the screen, to make it easier for users to access different areas of the site like companies and "influencer content." That app will be available later Wednesday in Apple's App Store, the company said.

LinkedIn also wants to better engage hiring managers, particularly on mobile. Last week, the company launched a mobile app, LinkedIn Recruiter, designed to unchain recruiters from their desktop PCs.

The company did not reveal plans for LinkedIn Intro for other mobile OSes.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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