LinkedIn seems to suggest people I may know. I believe, or it's my hypothesis, that LinkedIn scours information located in the cookie files on my computer and in some way accesses the information that comes from Google search results I have performed on specific people.

Is it possible for them to do that or do they do this at all?

  • LinkedIn DO get info from Google searches. I have received connection suggestions from LinkedIn referring to people where my only link to them is that I have done a Google search on that name. I.e. same name as my Google search—and same country of search—but not the person I was actually searching for, nor any similar occupation. The only question is how did LinkedIn know I searched on that name?
    – user16855
    Jan 28 '12 at 12:56
  • I for the first time Googled the name of a politician whom I hadn't heard of before. I finished scouring through the search results without clicking on another link (decided not to bother researching him after all). Totally separately and the very next thing I did without even closing my browser is that I clicked on my LinkedIn bookmark to check out my latest updates. On the right now is a suggestion that I may know the very person I Googled. It suggests a person with the exact same name and spelling but not the politician I was looking for, instead it's someone with the same name who does the
    – user24741
    Sep 22 '12 at 2:50
  • It suggests a person with the exact same name and spelling but not the politician I was looking for, instead it's someone with the same name who does the same job as me! So there is definitely a link between Google search history and the "People you may know" suggestions on LinkedIn. I find that a bit alarming to be honest. What mechanism are they employing to track my search history?
    – user24741
    Sep 22 '12 at 2:50

In short, no it is not possible for LinkedIn to use Google's cookies to suggest new contacts for you.

Cookies for most sites just contains an id value that really only means something to that particular site's server. You can view what values are contained in a particular cookie in most browsers. In Chrome this is located under the Developer Tools (Ctrl+Shift+I) on the Resources Tab. In addition most browsers only allow a site to access cookies that were set by that site.

It is possible that LinkedIn used your Google contact list to suggest new people, but this occurs only if you explicitly entered your Gmail username and password into their contact importer.

Most social networks suggest people you might know based upon the number of connections you have in common, the interests you share and the organizations you are both members of. Each social network has its own algorithms for suggesting common contacts, which they keep private. However there are many public academic studies researching how social networks are formed, basically it boils down to the fact that social networks typically are made up of small groups which have a lot of connections in common. In that group there are a few people that act as connectors to other small groups.


not so. Searches on Google against individuals have led to LinkedIn at once suggesting those individuals as LinkedIn contacts. It has happened so often it's not a coincidence. I do not use Chrome nor Google+ nor Gmail.

Once might just be a coincidence but repeat incidences mean that it is consistent. How LinkedIn get the information, I do not know.


LinkedIn does use your searches, and evidently uses Craigslist or MS Outlook too.

I recently corresponded with a woman about a rental property. First I answered her directly via Craigslist, and then through Time Warner and my Outlook account. Big surprise! The woman's name is now listed on my LinkedIn account in the "People you may know" suggestions.


I recently noticed this as well. When I logged into LinkedIn with Gmail open, several of LinkedIn's top suggestions were people I've only emailed using gmail and am not at all connected to professionally (not in the same industry or anything, no shared connections). I hadn't even contacted any of these people recently.

Google must be sharing info with LinkedIn somehow. I am curious how they do this because I regularly clear my cookies. The email I have registered with LinkedIn is not even a gmail account at all, but I did have an active session in a gmail account at the time so I did have the google cookie for that. It must be that Google is providing a service of some sort to improve LinkedIn's suggestions based on google cookies. Very creepy.

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