LinkedIn has retired InMaps, the tool that enables users to map out how their LinkedIn network looks has vanished.While the company hasn’t exactly made a big show out of retiring the feature, a note was displayed on the InMaps homepage noting that September 1 was the last day that it was going to be available.
LinkedIn says the feature is being discontinued so the company can focus on developing new ways to visualize users’ professional networks.
“Sometimes we have to retire tools we love so we can focus our attention and resources on creating even better experiences for our members. We're currently looking at new ways to help you visualize and gain insights from your professional network. That's why we discontinued InMaps on September 1, 2014,” reads a notice in the Help Center, giving a slightly more detailed recount of the company’s reasons to no longer support the InMaps feature.
The service was originally introduced back in January, 2011 as the company hoped to give users a way to visualize their networks and to better interact with its members. LinkedIn users could take the information about how people in their network were connected to them and each other and create personalized maps.
For instance, they could create groups like colleagues, people they went to school with, friends and so on, each of them separated into color-coded clusters. Clicking on these hubs would allow users to see different profiles.
LinkedIn has never said just how popular InMaps was and how many users were actually taking advantage of it. Either way, it must not have been too popular. Since there are some 310 million users on LinkedIn, if InMaps was used by even half of them, then the feature would have been saved. Alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
LinkedIn hasn’t really done a lot of “autumn cleaning” mainly because it doesn’t really have a lot of tools that it doesn’t need. Yahoo and Google often shut down features and tools if they no longer work well with the general plans they have for the company or if they simply aren’t getting as much attention as they used to.
The professional social network, on the other hand, seems adamant to focus on the core experience it offers, rather than any related features and tools. At the same time, it has been offering other types of analytics and insight data to help people get a better feel of their networks and to help them build the profiles as good as possible.