Just launched; LinkedIn is now offering more than half a dozen new applications to give users something more to do than network and do recon on collegues.

LinkedIn is now offering a host of apps for sharing files and presentations, syncing your blog postings with your profile page, even booking business travel.

I played around with a few of them. The first was something called "Company Buzz" which offers the latest "twitters" about a specific organization, historical charts of the intensity of buzz around a company, along with keywords and trends (look for the word "layoff" to spike across the board for the forseeable future). Unfortunately when I tried to install "Company Buzz", it wasn't working (Launch days aren't easy. I'll try again another day and follow up.).

There's also an application called TripIt that you can keep a running intinerary of all your upcoming business trips on your profile and likewise follow the comings and goings of co-workers and contacts. Why would this be handy? It's a great way to see who's going to the same tradeshow, plan conference calls optimized to best serve the time zones of all those involved and, of course, snoop.

Parting thoughts

LinkedIn is an interesting company. It's a social network that isn't publicly held and actually makes money. However given the economy and the rising popularity of Facebook; LinkedIn needs to do something to differentiate itself more from the other guys.

This just might be the ticket.