Facebook goes for the LinkedIn crowd with new app, BranchOut

Facebook has clearly grown weary of losing business-oriented members to social networking rival LinkedIn, and have decided to do something about it.

That paradigm has existed almost since social networking began and has developed into something of a lore. Popular, social searches happen on Facebook, but when it’s time to get serious and “grow up”, you move over to LinkedIn.

Branchout is a new Facebook application that seeks to add career networking to the Facebook universe. According to TechCrunch, “the application unlocks massive amounts of career data about my friends and friends of friends that was just impossible to get to before.”

This application allows you to search by company name to discover which of your friends work there, or used to work there. If they have also downloaded the application, then you can see which of their friends are also part of that company. This information could of course lead to a referral and a job. BranchOut believes that 80% of all job opportunities are the direct result of networking with friends.

Downloading the application is an interesting exercise. I did not know that one of my friends worked at Disney, one at NBC Universal, and another at the World Bank. Suddenly I am more impressed with my friends. I did, however, know that six of my friends worked “at freelance.”

BranchOut is a great idea and a welcome addition to the Facebook application family. The job boards, insider tips and additional information will, no doubt, come in handy. But it does rely on your friends keeping their work info up-to-date, which is often not the case.

As it is with so much of Facebook, they are offering a handy, clever app that will suit the masses who use it, but for detailed and comprehensive business searches, the specialised focussed nature of LinkedIn is still a superior service.



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