Picture this – LinkedIn adds profile photos

On Friday LinkedIn plans to allow profile photos on its business-focused social network, in a move which reflects its increasingly international focus.

It’s taken four years for LinkedIn to add photos, when every other social network has done it forever. The site for business professionals has always kept a conservative, business-like tone. But although it says the decision has been driven by members, LinkedIn could not have escaped noticing that business people are using sites like Facebook to network both personally and for business. Adding photos ticks a box marked ‘we can be as friendly-looking as Facebook too guys’.

In other Facebook-like moves, LinkedIn has improved its groups feature recently and an open API for developers is said to be on its way.

However, the formal tone will be maintained. Only one picture will be allowed and users will be able to block those outside their network from seeing it, as well as being able to block photos from other users.

The decision on photos will go down well in Europe, and especially in London, which I can confirm has become Facebook obsessed, and where people never quite got LinkedIn’s conservatism. European business networking sites like Xing – which allows photos – have benefited from a less locked-down approach.

LinkedIn says it has 14 million users a month, with up to 250,000 new users every week.