While many of Facebook's 500 million users waste part of their days growing virtual crops or committing imaginary crimes, there are many Facebook applications designed to actually improve business productivity. There are more than 550,000 active applications on the Facebook platform, according to the social network, with many designed specifically to improve business practices or better-integrate Facebook into a company's operations. Many business apps are free. Often, fee-based apps offer a bas
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RSS Graffiti, originally designed for Facebook page administrators, is useful for anyone dealing with multiple RSS feeds, especially those overseeing Facebook fan pages or multiple pages. The free app, developed by RSS Graffiti, checks user-specified RSS/Atom feeds and posts any new entries it finds to pre-selected Facebook walls. More than 353,000 people are using the app each month.
Well-established, easily recognized companies -- such as Microsoft and Twitter -- are behind some business apps. In other cases, smaller and newer enterprises like CircleUp and Huddle developed business-specific Facebook apps. In some instances, individuals looking to resolve a problem or rise to a technology challenge created apps, and then shared them on Facebook. No matter who did the coding, these business apps were designed to address issues such as group and individual calendaring; marketing campaigns; online collaboration; media feeds and analytics, and business networking. And, as Facebook continues toward its stated goal of 1 billion users, it's highly likely more business-friendly apps -- as well as productivity hogs -- will continue to arrive.
In August, Americans spent 685,000 hours on Facebook, accounting for 10% of overall time spent on the Internet in the United States, according to comScore. In fact, U.S. Internet users spent 22.7% of their time on social networking sites -- up 43% from the 15.8% they spent in 2009, according to an August 2010 study by The Nielsen Co. By comparison, users spent 8.3% of their online time reading and sending emails, the report found.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.