LinkedIn spruces up messaging ... and adds GIFs and emojis

The company's messaging client has been redesigned with a chat-like interface

The next time "sincerely" won't do while writing to a prospective employer on LinkedIn, how about you try closing that cover letter with a big, round smiley face?

Buttoned down LinkedIn is adding a touch of modern to its messaging client, streamlining its design while also adding support for digital media like stickers, emojis and GIFs.

The changes amount to a significant overhaul of the interface for the professional social networking site's free messaging client, and its paid InMail service.

The changes make it feel and look less like a clunky email system and more like a mobile messaging app or group chat client.

Messaging now has a chat-style interface. The company said it has also improved push and email notifications to make it easier to stay on top of relevant conversations.

LinkedIn will begin to limit push notifications, for instance, so users don't get bombarded with them when they're actively talking with connections, a LinkedIn spokeswoman said.

Some LinkedIn tools, like invitations to connect, are now accessible outside of the messaging inbox. LinkedIn has created a page on its site that explains how the redesign affects various other LinkedIn functions.

The changes are rolling out starting Tuesday for English-speaking users on the web and in LinkedIn's iOS and Android apps. The new messaging software will be made accessible to users in other languages in the coming weeks, the company says.

linkedin messaging mobile LinkedIn
LinkedIn's new messaging feature in its Android and iOS apps, pictured Sept. 1, 2015.

LinkedIn admits the changes are long overdue. "The wait is over," wrote Mark Hull, director of product management at LinkedIn, in a blog post on Tuesday that was titled, "New messaging experience comes to LinkedIn, finally."

More advanced tools could be on the way, too. In the post, Hull expressed excitement over "intelligent messaging assistants" that could help suggest people to message, or provide information about contacts before users start a conversation.

Also on Tuesday, Facebook announced it is rolling out an intelligent messaging assistant for its Messenger app.

LinkedIn's changes do not relax its restrictions around who can message whom. Users must still be connected to message each other for free, or hold a Premium account to message others using InMail.

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