5 Facebook Widgets For Business Users

But do you know them on LinkedIn? Friendster? Facebook? MySpace? All of them?

Networking is an integral part of doing business, but online networking has changed the rules. Instead of spending (wasting?) hours shmoozing in smoke-filled lounges and cocktail parties, networking is as simple as a search and click to "link" with people.

That said, social networking sites seem more for play than for work. LinkedIn touts itself as a network for professionals (great for getting introduced to potential interview subjects), and Facebook allows third-party companies to develop applications -- widgets -- for users to play with.

Most of Facebook widgets are fluff and games, but Test Center bravely ventured forth and dug up a few that business users should consider.

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1. Keep an eye on the market with the Stocks application. Forbes.com Stocks lets users track news on the companies they're interested in. Users can also see which of their friends are looking at the same companies.

2. Hunt for a better job than the one you are at, or find out which of your competitors are hiring. The Jobster Career Network from Jobster lets users create a list of companies they are interested in working for, and get personalized job alerts based on the list and career interests.

In an ironic twist, LinkedIn is on Facebook. The LinkedIn widget lets users list available positions at their company for their friends and networks to see. "Let the referral bonuses start rolling in," says the widget's description. Um, sure.

3. Work on documents, presentations, and spreadsheets to prove Facebook is not only about goofing off. Zoho Online Office lets users keep all Office files - documents, spreadsheets, presentations - online for free. Users can access them from inside (and outside) Facebook. Like Google Docs, Zoho supports file sharing and collaboration with friends. Anyone wondering about leaking company secrets?

4. Schedule your life with something other than Outlook or Google Calendar. With Calendar from 30 Boxes, users can keep track of appointments, deadlines, and a to-do list. The application actually integrates with MySpace, Flickr, and blog platforms such as Wordpress, too. Users can set up SMS reminders, for those rare moments they step away from the computer.

5. What's more important in business than a sense of supremacy? Smarter Than My Friends gets Test Center's vote as the best business widget. What other widget offers mental calisthenics and bragging rights? And research has shown that Sudoku puzzles can reduce risks of developing diseases like Alzheimer's. Clearly, Smarter Than My Friends is important for both business and health.