LinkedIn has been struggling as of late, and now, the company is looking for a way to better connect to its users.
Twelve months ago, LinkedIn engineers realized that their growth rate was starting to pose a problem for their search technology — the same search technology that hiring companies and professionals use to find each other through the LinkedIn website. LinkedIn’s user base was, at over 300 million users, too large to continue being accommodated by technologies built for a much smaller playing field. “We really hit a wall,” admitted Asif Makhani, LinkedIn’s head of search engineering.
As a result, LinkedIn has been in the process of rolling out a new search technology, known as “Galene.” Galene is a system that can process all types of searches, whether it’s a search for jobs, employees or groups. Previously, separate software was used to manage each search function, an engineering choice that has since become outdated. One feature new to Galene is instant suggestions and results that pop up as the user is typing — similar to Google’s live-type search, which launched four years ago.
As Investor Place points out, LinkedIn has been struggling to stay successful in its niche. So far in 2014, stocks have been off almost 30%, a major stall. Part of the issue is the deceleration of LinkedIn’s growth. Right now, expected growth for 2014 is 36%, which is in stark contrast to the 80% posted revenue growth that occurred two years ago. “Wall Street is losing its patience” with LinkedIn’s continual money loss, says Investor Place.
LinkedIn is hoping to give its growth a jolt through an aggressive entry to the Chinese market, which holds 140 million accessible professionals. While the site could potentially make it big in the country that has no real viable competitor for LinkedIn, it has so far drawn fire for reinforcing Chinese censorship, especially of events revolving around the anniversary of Tiananmen Square.