acquiring hosted search service IndexTank, and will incorporate their technology into the overall LinkedIn search algorithms. IndexTank powers the search behind Reddit.com, Spoke and Blip.tv, among others. LinkedIn claims more than 120 million members, with half outside the US and two million company pages on its service.This week LinkedIn announced they are
They stated in a blog post that they will "release key components of IndexTank as open source software. This would enable other parties to run the IndexTank API." The post continued: "LinkedIn has agreed to maintain the IndexTank service open to the public and unchanged for the next six months." Any existing paid customer will get their service for free during the transition, and they have stopped accepting new customers. IndexTank's CEO is Diego Basch, who has a deep background in search, having worked at Inktomi, one of the old school search vendors in the late 1990s.
LinkedIn certainly has a curious series of acquisitions, both before and after their IPO earlier this year. Many of them are relatively small companies, notable for having tight and smart engineering teams. The list includes:
- Connected, which was announced last week. Connected is a personal relationship contact manager. The service is now free and there aren't any specific plans on how they will be integrated into LinkedIn, but there are a lot of players in this space including Nimble.com and Plaxo.
- Cardmunch in January 2011, an iPhone app that digitizes business cards. Their CEO, Bowei Gai, is still with LinkedIn as "Chief CardMuncher" (now there is a unique job title).
- ChoiceVendor, in September 2010, which provides ratings and reviews of B2B service providers. One of the founders, Rama Ranganath, is also still with LinkedIn and lists his position as an application architect.
- mSpoke in August 2010. The company (where our current COO Sean Ammirati came from as their CEO) has content recommendation technology that is now used in LinkedIn Today feature on each member's home page, suggesting news articles that might be of interest.
Curiously, three of LinkedIn's acquisitions have their tech roots with Carnegie Mellon University, either as graduate students or as part of university-backed ventures: CardMunch, IndexTank and mSpoke.