I go away for two weeks and look what happens.........

I am not talking about the English riots (although they did strangely cease just before I returned!) but various changes to LinkedIn appeared while I was on holiday, lying by the pool or parasailing in Cyprus (see below)

This is just typical...nothing has changed on LinkedIn for quite a time (since the IPO) and then all of a sudden they make various changes at the time when I am away!

I appreciate many readers may already be aware of these changes but  I thought I might be helpful to summarise them here.

New Profile Makeover 

This is largely aesthetic but an improvement all the same in my view, the one practical change is the quick link to follow someone on Twitter.

Another change (which is not so new but I havent mentioned it before) is the new UK postcodes being used. Previously LinkedIn would often describe your location by your nearest postal town (i.e. from the initial letters of your postcode) which made it pretty inaccurate at times. Now the postcode you enter will give you much more accurate options to show in your profile.

In this example Colm's location would have just been 'London' instead of the more specific location we now see.

Updates shown in real time

Well not exactly real time but it is easier to keep in top of your update stream now, which can be very useful.

You may have noticed previously that if you move away from your LinkedIn tab in your browser you would have to manually refresh the whole page to see the latest updates in your home page stream. The change they have made is to allow you to see how many new updates have been submitted by your connections in the tab at the top of your browser (see below)

This is a feature copied from Twitter as you can see above and I find it really helpful. You are not always going to be able check your updates constantly but it is handy to be able to do so at times. Keeping an eye on what is going on in your network is useful. A quick look at the tab tells me there is a manageable number to quickly scan through so I click back to LinkedIn and refresh the updates to see the latest activity (see below)

I have not tested this in every browser but it works in Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.

The final change is not one to LinkedIn.com but probably the most significant of all these changes

New Mobile App

LinkedIn have had mobile apps for some time (especially the iPhone app) but I have found I don't use it that much and this seems to be the case for many others, the problem is that the most common reason people return to LinkedIn time and time again is to get involved in groups and groups has not been a feature of the mobile app.........until now that is!

The new version (iPhone & Android) has a completely new look (see below) which is easy to use and a considerable improvement on the previous version  

But the most important (and potentially game changing) feature is the inclusion of Groups. Now you can dip into your groups, read what is being discussed and contribute your own views as well as create a discussion of your own.

I really believe this will make a big difference in how much the mobile app is used, there have been many times when I get an email telling me about a new discussion whilst I am away from my computer - I want to contribute but I really can't be bothered trying to navigate around the tiny font on safari so I leave it until I get back to the office, by which time the moment has passed and I forget to contribute to the discussion (which is effectively a missed opportunity).

Its not all good news, some of the old features have gone ('In person' for instance) and the list of groups is annoyingly in alphabetical order rather than a user defined order as can be done on the website but hopefully they will fix that in the next update.

I think that covers everything I missed whilst on holiday but please let me know if you have spotted anything else. Its good to see that LinkedIn are continuing to develop website and mobile app functionality now that they have got the IPO out of the way.