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LinkedIn is ramping up its use of Microsoft's Azure cloud

Key Points
  • LinkedIn has tapped Azure for video delivery and for machine translation.
  • Google and Amazon also offer cloud-based translation tools.
Jeffrey 'Jeff' Weiner, chief executive officer of LinkedIn Corp.
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Business social network and recruiting tool LinkedIn is increasingly relying on technology from its parent company, Microsoft. On Thursday LinkedIn said it's tapping a service running in Microsoft's cloud data centers to translate the text of its users' posts into different languages.

The decision suggests that LinkedIn is becoming more integrated into Microsoft's own systems, rather than doing everything on its own as a separate, standalone company that just happens to be owned by Microsoft. The adoption could help Microsoft's push in the cloud business, where it competes with the likes of Amazon and Google.

To translate people's words into dozens of languages, LinkedIn has begun using the Microsoft Translator Text application programming interface, LinkedIn software engineer Angelika Clayton and tech lead Bing Zhao wrote in a blog post.

To use the new feature, users can hit the new "See translation" button in foreign-language posts they spot in LinkedIn's main news feed. "For this feed feature, we selectively translate source text into 24 target languages, to match each member's interface locale supported by LinkedIn," Clayton and Zhao wrote. Users can rate the translations with as many as five stars.

The feature should be available soon if it isn't appearing yet, a spokesman said. Right now, information on profile pages and in comments cannot be translated, but LinkedIn is thinking about how it can expand translation, the company said.

Facebook and Google have also taken steps to add in-house AI translations into their products in recent years, and Amazon and Google offer cloud translation systems for developers that compete with the Azure system that LinkedIn is using.

This isn't the first time LinkedIn is tapping Azure. The Microsoft subsidiary has also chosen Azure to help with providing users' videos in the app.

Azure is the flagship of Microsoft's growing commercial cloud business, which also includes Office 365 and Dynamics 365. In the first quarter, commercial cloud brought Microsoft $6 billion in revenue, and Azure revenue growth exceeded 90 percent. In that quarter LinkedIn revenue was up 37 percent, at more than $1.3 billion.

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