updated 2/29/2008 5:58:36 PM ET 2008-02-29T22:58:36

The online networking site LinkedIn was inaccessible for about an hour Friday just a day after a major update with new features and a special message from Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates .

(MSNBC is a joint Microsoft - NBC Universal venture.)

The site — a professional network that helps people who know each other meet one another's acquaintances who might help their careers — was restored by about 11:30 a.m. EST, the company said.

Web site spokeswoman Kay Luo said the outage was related to the update, but she declined to elaborate. Earlier, she said the site had higher traffic than usual after the new features launched Thursday.

LinkedIn also had brief, scheduled outages Wednesday and Thursday, Luo said, in part to allow it to roll out the features.

Among other additions, the new features let LinkedIn's 19 million members broadcast their daily activities to their connections, much as the "status" feature at the social-networking site Facebook does.

Gates started promoting LinkedIn this week by setting up a profile and soliciting suggestions on the best way to encourage more young people to pursue careers in science and technology.

By focusing on professional relationships, LinkedIn distinguishes itself from social playgrounds like Facebook and News Corp.'s MySpace, where users are encouraged to share their personal lives by posting party photos and adding favorite bands.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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