LinkedIn Oct. 29 followed in the footsteps of Facebook, MySpace and other social networks in opening an applications platform that lets the business social site's 30 million users share presentation files, blog posts and reading lists.
Launch partners for LinkedIn's Intelligent Applications platform, built on the OpenSocial APIs created by Google, include Amazon, Google, Six Apart, Wordpress and lesser known startups Box.net, Huddle, SlideShare and TripIt.
The corporate social network's integration with Google Presentations lets workers embed presentations from Google or Microsoft PowerPoint on their profiles. SlideShare Presentations offers a similar service.
Huddle Workspaces from Huddle.net gives users project and collaboration tools in an online workspace. Box.net lets users add its Files application to manage all of their files online. WordPress and Blog Link from Six Apart lets users link their blogs to profiles.
The more frivolous Reading List by Amazon lets colleagues share books they're reading with other LinkedIn members, while the MyTravel app from TripIt lets users see where and when others in their LinkedIn network are traveling for business trips.
LinkedIn also launched its own Company Buzz application, which allows workers to see Twitter tweets associated with their company.
Why LinkedIn is launching with two blogging apps and two presentations apps is curious, but the smart money is that the network wants to provide users more choice.
LinkedIn's app platform launch comes at an interesting time for social networking apps platforms. Many programmers have declared the Facebook Platform dead since the implementation in July of more rigid standards that effectively shut down spammy apps. The prevailing sentiment seems to be: If it isn't easy as pie any more to ping friends with a new app, why bother?
But LinkedIn's apps platform is a different animal because it offers trusted applications to help business workers connect, communicate and share information. These apps have been vetted by millions of users, so LinkedIn expects employees will trust using them in a work context.
Whether or not LinkedIn's apps platform succeeds will let the world know whether applications development for social networks needs a rest, and perhaps a new approach.
To install an application on LinkedIn, users can go to the LinkedIn apps directory and click "add application." Users can then customize their applications.