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The 20 most notable Facebook apps

PC Advisor's Facebook survival guide

A little over a year ago, social-networking site Facebook opened its doors to non-students and, since then, businesspeople and the computer-savvy have flocked to it. A big reason for the site's allure is not just the number of people who use it, but also the thousands of applications on the site - mini applets that use the power of social networking for everything imaginable.

These applications act as extensions to the basic Facebook post-a-profile/read-a-profile functionality. Interested in something serious, such as collaborating on documents, using your friends' collective intelligence to discover useful blogs, or finding freelance developers to help with an IT project? You'll find applications for that. How about the not-so-serious, such as playing Texas Hold 'Em poker or perusing the collected wisdom of Homer Simpson? There's something for you as well.

Where do all these apps come from? Third-party developers think they see gold in Facebook, and they're flocking to write free applications for the site, which is a development platform in its own right. At last count, there were more than 7,000 Facebook applications, and no end in sight to new ones.

It can be tough and time-consuming to weed out the pointless from the useful and the winners from the losers. We're here to help. We've listed our favourite Facebook applications in a variety of categories, from the useful to the sublime to the ridiculous.

Check them out, and if you've got the time, head to the Facebook application directory for many more. And let us know your favourite Facebook apps by leaving a comment at the bottom of this article.

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