LinkedIn's New Free Apps: Review, Part One

LinkedIn's getting down to business with a platform of free apps. Here's a hands-on look at what the first batch of those apps can do for you, from presentation help to travel tools.

By C.G. Lynch
Thu, November 13, 2008

CIO — The late October launch of LinkedIn's application platform ushered in new capabilities for the social network aimed at professionals. LinkedIn decided to start small, adding a list of nine free applications aimed at boosting your productivity and sharing Web content.

We've tried out four of them so far. They have their proverbial pros and cons, but overall, they're a good start in bringing more interactive content to the world's largest business social network. In order to add one, simply go the left side of your LinkedIn home page and click on the "applications" link, which will take you to the LinkedIn application directory.

1. Google Presentation

Did you really crush that PowerPoint presentation you gave when you were on the road last week? Well, if your friends and colleagues missed it, they might ask you to e-mail it to them. Pretty soon, your email box fills up with .ppt attachments.

With Google's Presentation App for LinkedIn, you can respond to those inquiries with a URL directing colleagues and others to your LinkedIn profile, where your slideshows will be embedded for everyone to see. The app, which appears on screen as a YouTube-sized widget, has easy click-through arrows, and the ability to change to a full screen.

Google Slideshow LinkedIn App
The Google Presentation App (above) allows you to share presentations with your connections on LinkedIn. You can also upload Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.

Not a huge Google Apps person? Not to worry, Redmond-lovers, Google Presentations allows you to upload Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentations no problem.

2. Company Buzz

This LinkedIn-developed app strives to help you track your company's image online. It's also a fun app for all you gossipers out there looking to get the latest dirt on your company. It pulls in information about your company from two places. The first source: other LinkedIn users who post information to the business social network about the company. The other source: Twitter, the microblogging service that allows users to share short messages of 140 characters or less. Many companies have begun using Twitter to interact with customers.

In the screen shot below, you can see the company buzz for IDG, the parent company of CIO's publisher. Here you see some updates from our sister publications, including MacWorld, and one from our friends at IDG Sweden.

Company Buzz LinkedIn App
Using information fed in from Twitter and LinkedIn, the Company Buzz app (above) keeps you up to date on all the latest news about your company.

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