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LinkedIn Pulse review: More features, but design gets in the way

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The Good LinkedIn Pulse displays the news from your favorite sites to help you quickly get through the headlines. New features give you more ways to share and create discussion around subjects.

The Bad Some new interface elements get in the way of reading the news. The app hides the login screen for former Pulse users.

The Bottom Line LinkedIn Pulse has been redesigned and former users will find it confusing, but there are new features in the app that make it a worthwhile download for both news addicts and professionals.


7.7 Overall
  • Setup 7
  • Features 8
  • Interface 7
  • Performance 8

LinkedIn Pulse (iOS|Android) lets you browse the news from your favorite Web sites using a new interface and connects with LinkedIn in an attempt to bring news and industry professionals together. LinkedIn acquired Pulse in April 2013, and this is the first launch of the new app.

In bringing the two services together, you get a couple extra features on both, but it's important to note this isn't a unified experience -- just that each of the services get some features from the other. In the LinkedIn Pulse app, you can pull in stories from industry influencers, which can be valuable to your business or professional goals. On the LinkedIn side, you get a new section at the top of your feed that shows recommended stories from your Pulse feeds.

In bringing the two services together, the point isn't to transfer the full functionality of LinkedIn to mobile form -- there's already a LinkedIn app for that. The new LinkedIn Pulse instead combines LinkedIn's news features with the Pulse news aggregation functionality to create one unified content experience that is consistent across and the LinkedIn Pulse app, with your actions syncing between the two. On first blush, I didn't really see the advantage to having the two connected, but once I saw how these new features might be used, I think I started to see what LinkedIn was trying to do.

The new interface
First, let's look at the app itself. Like previous versions of Pulse, the new LinkedIn Pulse lets you pick through news categories, then lets you select Web sites to add to your feed. News sites are laid out vertically so you can swipe up and down to get the latest headlines from all sites quickly, or you can swipe horizontally to read more stories from the same site. Each story heading has the headline and an included graphic, making for a more elegant approach than standard newsreaders that show only text links.

LinkedIn Pulse
The new look has larger images, which is better to look at, but you won't see as many stories on the screen. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

But the new app uses bigger images than previous versions and has a lot more white space to fit in with the design scheme of iOS 7. The bigger images give it a better look (though that's controversial), but it also means you get fewer stories on the screen at once. I've already seen some complaints in the comments for LinkedIn Pulse at the App Store and Google Play, and they have a point, but I think it's more a matter of getting used to the change rather than it taking away from your news reading.

When you touch a story headline, the app gives you a mobile-optimized version of the story for easy reading of either all or a portion of the story (depending on the requirements from the source) and a link at the bottom to view the story on the Web in the Pulse-integrated Web browser. At the top, you have buttons to give the story a thumbs-up, or comment on it, and a share button if you want to show it to someone else. When you share, you can add a comment for the recipient, then share to LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, or you can send via e-mail or SMS. These features give you more ways to interact with the stories than the old version and let you broadcast your thoughts about a story.

LinkedIn Pulse
Choose from several categories to create your lists. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Sources and lists
The app comes with several popular Web sites you can add to your LinkedIn Pulse news feeds by hitting the search button, or you can use the search function at the top to find feeds from favorite sites not listed in the included categories. This is a bit different from the old version, which had a menu button in the top left where you could find new categories and your lists.

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