Microsoft-owned LinkedIn jumps into real-life networking with new event planning feature

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LinkedIn is getting into networking in the physical world for the first time, expanding on its bread-and-butter of connecting professionals digitally.

The Microsoft-owned business social network unveiled a new Events feature that lets people plan, announce and invite people to real-life meetups. It will launch first in English-speaking countries Oct. 17, TechCrunch reported, and expand later.

The feature, which the company first tested last year, is one of the bigger new launches since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016. Events seem like a natural extension for LinkedIn, where its 650 million members have built vast digital social networks that they could tap into for meetups. Much like Facebook has become an important tool for event organizing in more casual settings, LinkedIn aims to become the go-to place for organizing professional gatherings.

TechCrunch notes that the feature, which is being built out of LinkedIn’s RD office in Bangalore, India, remains limited in its early stages. It lacks options for directly booking meeting spaces, ticketing and promoting events beyond users’ organic reach.

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