In an effort to broaden its appeal, LinkedIn (news, site) launched a social news service that will let  let users tap into articles being shared by their connections or by people in their industries.

LinkedIn Today

Labeled LinkedIn Today, the beta product aggregates the most popular headlines being shared by LinkedIn members or on Twitter. The news can be filtered by 22 specific industries, by company, geography, or even a member's own professional circle.

"In five minutes, they get the top stories they need to be paying attention to," said senior product manager Liz Walker. "Part of who you are is what you read or what you care about."

The Competition

In addition to attracting more attention, LinkedIn Today attempts to gain an edge over Google in the time-strapped professional pool by offering more resources under one roof. The addition also accentuates LinkedIn's race to go public in 2011. Aside from Facebook, analysts have said one of the main challenges the platform will face is getting its members more deeply engaged than the usual two minutes it takes to update a business profile and approve a couple of connections. 

Still, the company urges consumers not to think of its ultimate goal as being the Facebook of business. "What we're focused on doing is not just limited to the activity stream," explained Deep Nishar, LinkedIn's senior vice president of products and user experience. "Managing your career is a lot more than finding your next job. It's about how to stay up to speed, how you stay on top of your professional game."

If you're a linkedIn user, let us know whether or not the feature will help keep you firmly planted in the business network and why.