LinkedIn opens APIs to broader Web: Will you use your professional identity?

LinkedIn opened up its application programming interfaces to all developers in a bid to sprinkle your personal identity throughout software and the Web.

LinkedIn on Wednesday opened up its application programming interfaces to all developers in a bid to sprinkle your personal identity throughout software and the Web.

In October, LinkedIn launched a beta for new APIs and plug-in technology that would make professional identities available to other applications. In this scenario, LinkedIn connections could appear in Microsoft Outlook, other enterprise applications and around the Web.

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Adam Nash, vice president of product management at LinkedIn, said that the company gave early access to more than 1,000 developers and now is opening the process up to all.

In a nutshell, LinkedIn is launching six plug-ins for things like sign ins on other sites, member profiles, company briefings and recommendations. The release has support for OAuth 2.0 and Javascript APIs. Think Facebook Connect except with your LinkedIn professional identity.

"One of our key tenants is to work wherever our members are," said Nash. "This is really for the broader Web."

The big question here is how will consumers leverage their professional and personal identities on other sites. After all, Facebook Connect is everywhere. Will LinkedIn profiles be used on B2B sites? How about gaming? What about conference sites? Google?

Nash said developers will choose what applications and sites best work for LinkedIn profiles. From there, the consumer has a choice. "People are most comfortable with their professional identities being public," said Nash. "They will wear different hats, but the professional profile is very important to them. The professional identity is the one that you want anyone to know and carries over to any Web site."

If that scenario plays out, folks may opt to surface their professional identities for Web use.

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