Mobile app redesign proves LinkedIn wants to be your destination for news

If it wasn’t already obvious from the company’s acquisition of social news reader Pulse and launch of Influencers, a professional blogging service, LinkedIn’s(s lnkd) mobile app update on Thursday shows that the company is increasingly focused on news.

new linkedin mobile re-designAs my colleague Mathew Ingram wrote, LinkedIn’s media ambitions began back before the company went public in 2011, but the full scope of what the company had in mind is evident in this redesign launched Thursday for iPhone and Android.

The new feed looks a heck of a lot more like Facebook’s News Feed than a digital resume service. Gone are the weird folders a user used to see on logging in, which are now replaced with a stream of information that combines both professional updates (which of your friends have new LinkedIn connections or jobs), and news stories, as well as a top bar that shows “top stories for you,” and other customizable features. Users can like or comment on stories directly from the feed, which again, provides the service with more data on user interests.

While its stock price is doing well and it’s well on its way to becoming the digital resume of choice for a lot of professionals, LinkedIn still only has 200 million registered users, which isn’t all that significant when you consider that those aren’t active users — just people with accounts. (For a point of comparison, Twitter, which is a much newer company, has 200 million users — active ones.)

LinkedIn’s business model hinges on the “talent solutions,” or the corporate recruiting arm of the company, which brought in more than 50 percent of the revenue last quarter. But that business needs users to continue uploading information to LinkedIn. When users note when they get new jobs or list their skills, they’re providing more data for recruiters and companies to evaluate, making that section of the business more valuable. And if users never visit LinkedIn, that’s a problem, as we’ve written before.

Scrolling through this feed, it’s easy to see why adding news stories and content to the LinkedIn site makes it far more engaging for users. After all, people don’t change jobs and update their LinkedIn profiles often enough to populate a timely news feed, but if I checked the LinkedIn app to find an interesting mix of technology and media news, I might be more likely to come back for a visit — not just to accept a connection.