It was one of those blink-and-you'll-miss-it announcements: LinkedIn got an unexpected boost in the middle of Apple's two-hour keynote presentation this morning at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
In the next version of the Mac OS X operating system, dubbed Mavericks, users of Apple's Safari browser will be able to see links shared by their LinkedIn connections, as well as the accounts they follow on Twitter.
The utility seems marginal: After all, if you're using the Safari Web browser, LinkedIn and Twitter's websites—and a stream of links shared by your connections there—are just one click away.
And there's no reason to believe Safari's new Shared Links feature will threaten other news-reading tools. Safari's Reading List tool for saving articles doesn't seem to have slowed down popular article-saving apps like Pocket or Instapaper.
(See also Apple Announces Mac OS X "Mavericks.")
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But the move may be more important in the validation Apple is giving LinkedIn as a media-distribution service.
The professional network is already a player in the news-reading game, thanks to the LinkedIn Today feature on its website and its recent acquisition of Pulse, a mobile news-reading app. But LinkedIn is still trying to get users to think of it as a place to read and share professional content, not just to update their resumes.
It's also interesting to see LinkedIn integrated into an operating system at this level—the kind of deal that's been mostly the domain of Twitter and Facebook to date.
(We asked LinkedIn for a statement about the integration, but we stopped reading when we saw that it began with the hackneyed phrase "We are excited ...")