AI

LinkedIn, now at 1B users, turns on OpenAI-powered reading and writing tools

Comment

linkedin china, logo on balloons
Image Credits: LinkedIn China via Weibo

It was only a couple of weeks ago that LinkedIn was having a moment as a social platform, with business types gravitating to it as a stable and safer alternative to the unpredictability of the newly named “X.” But don’t get too comfortable if actual human content is what you are expecting there.

Today the company — which says it will pass the 1 billion user mark this month — is taking the wraps off its latest efforts in the area of artificial intelligence: AI that will provide personalized digests for people reading content on the site, and AI that will help them write their own content on the platform.

Initially, the new tools will be rolled out to Premium (paying) users and they will appear in three areas.

You can use them to spruce up your feed; you can use AI tools to digest any linked articles, where you can use them to write something smart on that article as you share it; and you can apply them to your job-hunting experience, typically when you send a response to a recruiter or if you’re a recruiter reaching out to a candidate.

Longer term, the plan will be to evaluate how these AI tools get used to weigh up how to expand them more.

“If it’s broadly applicable, [extending to all users] will be on the table,” Gyanda Sachdeva, VP of product management at LinkedIn, said in an interview. “Premium users are very motivated [users of LinkedIn], so we expect it to be immediately valuable.”

She also confirmed that other media, such as video, was definitely on the roadmap for getting the generative AI treatment.

As with the raft of AI tools that Microsoft-owned LinkedIn announced last month, these new features will be powered by OpenAI, the AI behemoth that is now 49% owned by Microsoft after the tech giant invested tens of billions of dollars in the startup.

(Sidenote: It’s notable that amidst all of LinkedIn’s AI announcements, it’s also been laying off people, including in areas like R&D and engineering. The company is indeed streamlining, and as it takes its next steps in its evolution, it is doing so less as an independent entity.)

LinkedIn specifically is using OpenAI APIs from Azure, taping OpenAI’s Large Language Models and GPT-4, combining this with LinkedIn’s proprietary data to come up with generative AI outputs that are personalized to the individual.

LinkedIn declined to describe what part of the experience is unique to LinkedIn’s work, and what would be credited to OpenAI, but the result is essentially like a version of ChatGPT that’s meant to be personalized to you. When two different people see the same article on LinkedIn, if they each choose to use the AI tool to summarize that article or craft a comment about it, the AI will look at the individual’s professional profile, as well as their other activities on the site, to present a summary relevant to that person.

For users who don’t want to know what they already know, LinkedIn gives users options to ask questions related to the text to get other kinds of summaries.

LinkedIn has multiple reasons for building out these AI tools as it has.

First and foremost, it’s helping the site overcome some of the challenges of social media engagement, something that might be especially an issue on LinkedIn: Given that connections on there are more likely to be from your professional network, people are not known for letting their hair down, and have to put their best, professional selves forward. Sometimes it’s easier not to post anything at all.

To that end, the tools are designed to get people to click more and create more, spending more time on the site overall.

Second of all, it’s keeping LinkedIn in the middle of the conversation. Today, regardless of whether using AI is just a novelty or the new normal, everyone is looking for it. LinkedIn, wanting to remain a relevant presence as it pushes into its third decade of life, needs to have an AI component.

Generative AI has proven to be catnip for engagement, but that can open the door to other usage, too. Come for the novelty of the new gen AI tool, maybe stay for the interesting insights and networking opportunities.

The third area that these tools addresses is that of LinkedIn’s Premium business. LinkedIn made $15 billion in revenues last year and while it doesn’t say what proportion of that comes from paid subscriptions, it’s still a fast-growing part of the business, up 55% year over year as of last month. Now it’s sweetening the deal to see if it can keep up the momentum.

A look at how the AI tools work in practice:

More TechCrunch

Andreessen Horowitz’s American Dynamism fund has established a new fellowship program aimed at introducing top engineers and technologists to venture investing, a move that could help the firm less obvious…

a16z’s American Dynamism team launches program to introduce technical minds to VC

Another fintech startup, and its customers, has been gravely impacted by the implosion of banking-as-a-service startup Synapse. Copper Banking, a digital banking service aimed at teens, notified its customers on…

Teen fintech Copper had to emergency discontinue its banking, debit products

Autodesk — the 3D tools behemoth — has acquired Wonder Dynamics, a startup that lets creators quickly and easily make complex characters and visual effects using AI-powered image analysis. The…

Autodesk acquires AI-powered VFX startup Wonder Dynamics

Farcaster, a blockchain-based social protocol founded by two Coinbase alumni, announced on Tuesday that it closed a $150 million fundraise. Led by Paradigm, the platform also raised money from a16z…

Farcaster, a crypto-based social network, raised $150M with just 80K daily users

Microsoft announced on Tuesday during its annual Build conference that it’s bringing “Windows Volumetric Apps” to Meta Quest headsets. The partnership will allow Microsoft to bring Windows 365 and local…

Microsoft’s new ‘Volumetric Apps’ for Quest headsets extend Windows apps into the 3D space

The spam reached Bluesky by first crossing over two other decentralized networks: Mastodon and Nostr.

The ‘vote Trump’ spam that hit Bluesky in May came from decentralized rival Nostr

Welcome to TechCrunch Fintech! This week, we’re looking at the continued fallout from Synapse’s bankruptcy, how Layer wants to disrupt SMB accounting, and much more! To get a roundup of…

There’s a real appetite for a fintech alternative to QuickBooks

The company is hoping to produce electricity at $13 per megawatt hour, which would be more than 50% cheaper than traditional onshore wind.

Bill Gates-backed wind startup AirLoom is raising $12M, filings reveal

Generative AI makes stuff up. It can be biased. Sometimes it spits out toxic text. So can it be “safe”? Rick Caccia, the CEO of WitnessAI, believes it can. “Securing…

WitnessAI is building guardrails for generative AI models

It’s not often that you hear about a seed round above $10 million. H, a startup based in Paris and previously known as Holistic AI, has announced a $220 million…

French AI startup H raises $220M seed round

Hey there, Series A to B startups with $35 million or less in funding — we’ve got an exciting opportunity that’s tailor-made for your growth journey! If you’re looking to…

Boost your startup’s growth with a ScaleUp package at TC Disrupt 2024

TikTok is pulling out all the stops to prevent its impending ban in the United States. Aside from initiating legal action against the U.S. government, that means shaping up its…

As a US ban looms, TikTok announces a $1M program for socially driven creators

Microsoft wants to put its Copilot everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before Microsoft renames its annual Build developer conference to Microsoft Copilot. Hopefully, some of those upcoming events…

Microsoft’s Power Automate no-code platform adds AI flows

Build is Microsoft’s largest developer conference and of course, it’s all about AI this year. So it’s no surprise that GitHub’s Copilot, GitHub’s “AI pair programming tool,” is taking center…

GitHub Copilot gets extensions

Microsoft wants to make its brand of generative AI more useful for teams — specifically teams across corporations and large enterprise organizations. This morning at its annual Build dev conference,…

Microsoft intros a Copilot for teams

Microsoft’s big focus at this year’s Build conference is generative AI. And to that end, the tech giant announced a series of updates to its platforms for building generative AI-powered…

Microsoft upgrades its AI app-building platforms

The U.K.’s data protection watchdog has closed an almost year-long investigation of Snap’s AI chatbot, My AI — saying it’s satisfied the social media firm has addressed concerns about risks…

UK data protection watchdog ends privacy probe of Snap’s GenAI chatbot, but warns industry

U.S. cell carrier Patriot Mobile experienced a data breach that included subscribers’ personal information, including full names, email addresses, home ZIP codes and account PINs, TechCrunch has learned. Patriot Mobile,…

Conservative cell carrier Patriot Mobile hit by data breach

It’s been three years since Spotify acquired live audio startup Betty Labs, and yet the music streaming service isn’t leveraging the technology to its fullest potential — at least not…

Spotify’s ‘Listening Party’ feature falls short of expectations

Alchemist Accelerator has a new pile of AI-forward companies demoing their wares today, if you care to watch, and the program itself is making some international moves into Tokyo and…

Alchemist’s latest batch puts AI to work as accelerator expands to Tokyo, Doha

“Late Pledge” allows campaign creators to continue collecting money even after the campaign has closed.

Kickstarter now lets you pledge after a campaign closes

Stack AI’s co-founders, Antoni Rosinol and Bernardo Aceituno, were PhD students at MIT wrapping up their degrees in 2022 just as large language models were becoming more mainstream. ChatGPT would…

Stack AI wants to make it easier to build AI-fueled workflows

Pinecone, the vector database startup founded by Edo Liberty, the former head of Amazon’s AI Labs, has long been at the forefront of helping businesses augment large language models (LLMs)…

Pinecone launches its serverless vector database out of preview

Young geothermal energy wells can be like budding prodigies, each brimming with potential to outshine their peers. But like people, most decline with age. In California, for example, the amount…

Special mud helps XGS Energy get more power out of geothermal wells

Featured Article

Sonos finally made some headphones

The market play is clear from the outset: The $449 headphones are firmly targeted at an audience that would otherwise be purchasing the Bose QC Ultra or Apple AirPods Max.

8 hours ago
Sonos finally made some headphones

Adobe says the feature is up to the task, regardless of how complex of a background the object is set against.

Adobe brings Firefly AI-powered Generative Remove to Lightroom

All cars suffer when the mercury drops, but electric vehicles suffer more than most as heaters draw more power and batteries charge more slowly as the liquid electrolyte inside thickens.…

Porsche Ventures invests in battery startup South 8 to boost cold-weather EV performance

Scale AI has raised a $1 billion Series F round from a slew of big-name institutional and corporate investors including Amazon and Meta.

Data-labeling startup Scale AI raises $1B as valuation doubles to $13.8B

The new coalition, Tech Against Scams, will work together to find ways to fight back against the tools used by scammers and to better educate the public against financial scams.

Meta, Match, Coinbase and others team up to fight online fraud and crypto scams

It’s a wrap: European Union lawmakers have given the final approval to set up the bloc’s flagship, risk-based regulations for artificial intelligence.

EU Council gives final nod to set up risk-based regulations for AI