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LinkedIn is bringing courses to its news feed and building a messaging bot


Kurt Wagner / Recode

LinkedIn is finally bringing — the online education company it bought 18 months ago for $1.5 billion — into its news feed.

Beginning Thursday, LinkedIn will start recommending online courses for its members based on things like their jobs and their listed skills, and recommended courses shared by friends of colleagues. Users can take the course on LinkedIn, then add completed courses and new skills to their profiles after completion.

It’s the first time Lynda’s library of online courses has made its way into user feeds, but it doesn’t mean is going away; the site will stick around “for the foreseeable future,” said Tanya Staples, a senior director of content and production at LinkedIn, who joined the company via the acquisition.

LinkedIn announced the change Thursday at a press event at its new San Francisco high-rise, where the company and CEO Jeff Weiner also teased out a number of upcoming products. Among them: A new LinkedIn messaging bot that will help LinkedIn users schedule and arrange meetings.

The bot will pull info from users’ calendars to help find time for people to meet, then suggest physical meeting locations based on where the two people have met in the past.

It’s the first such messaging bot from LinkedIn, which is not known for having an advanced messaging product. (It didn’t even announce a text-like messaging feature until a year ago.)

But Weiner says that while LinkedIn isn’t going to build bots for the sake of building bots, there are more opportunities for the company around bots given LinkedIn’s recent sale to Microsoft.

“This is an area where we’re going to be able to do some really interesting things with Microsoft,” Weiner said. “Microsoft has been making some very significant investments in conversational computing, and bots are one of the elements of that that really bring it to life.”

What those bots will look like, or when you’ll actually see them, is still a mystery. LinkedIn didn’t share a launch date for its scheduling bot, but is already testing it internally.

LinkedIn Learning, on the other hand, is available and live starting Thursday. If you have a premium LinkedIn account, the new integration, called LinkedIn Learning, is included in your subscription. If you don’t, it’ll cost $29.99 a month.

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