Linkedin gets app platform, sticks to productivity

Linkedin, the social network for professionals, has taken a cue from Facebook and MySpace and has included its own applications platform. In keeping with the site's ethic, the launch applications are largely productivity-based.

Unlike the other popular social networks with applications platforms, Linkedin's do not include time-wasters and other such frivolities. Amazon, Google, Tripit, WordPress, Box.net, SixApart, and Huddle.net all have provided apps for Linkedin that help move the Site from personal data and resume sharing into a more project-oriented collaboration tool.

Box.net, for example, lets a user upload and manage documents within his Linkedin profile, making them not only sharable online, but also editable. Similarly, Huddle.net's Workspaces app offers a secure environment for document collaboration within a simple gadget.

Google's Presentation app lets Powerpoint (.PPT) files be directly into a user's profile, viewable to all without forcing a download; and the SlideShare app indexes .PDF, .PPT, .ODP, and .DOC files into a virtual portfolio.

The remaining apps are not quite utilities, but avail more personal information to the Linkedin community. WordPress and and SixApart's Blog Link are two apps that sync off-site blogs to the application within Linkedin, and TripIt's My Travel keeps track of your trips and travel stats and shares upcoming travel plans in a news feed, handy for "out of office" situations. Amazon's Reading List lets users add the books they are currently reading or plan to read, and then presents what other network members and professionals in the same field are reading.

The platform launched with nine applications, but the presentation video from LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman says there were ten. In the video, we see the missing tenth application was related to LinkedIn Polls, which was tested early in the Summer.

Linkedin's own Company Buzz app tracks Twitter keywords and then graphs their frequency of mention. It's a very promising tool, but in trying to mount it to a profile in BetaNews tests today, it repeatedly returned a "CompanyBuzz is experiencing technical difficulties" message.

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