If you're like other U.S. Facebook users, you probably spend a good chunk of your online time aimlessly browsing wall posts, photo albums and playing games-seven hours a month, to be exact, according to a Nielsen report.
But all that time spent on Facebook doesn't have to amount to nothing. Within Facebook's hundreds of applications and add-ons are a handful of useful ones that let you connect and collaborate with others more easily -- and even help you rationalize your Facebook browsing habits. Check out these four cool Facebook tools.
The BlackBerry PIN Exchange is an easy way to share your BlackBerry Messenger PIN on your profile, browse your friends' PINs, find new friends to connect with via your BlackBerry and more. Worried about sharing too much information on Facebook? Solid privacy settings give you control over who sees your PIN and where it appears.
Back in April, Facebook and Microsoft teamed up to release Docs, a new way to collaborate and work with your Facebook friends. Similar to Google Docs, Docs lets you browse, create and share Microsoft Office documents with your Facebook friends. You can upload a file, choose additional users who can modify the file and publish it to your activity stream (if you'd like) so your spreadsheet, document or presentation is visible to your network.
AddressBookSync helps to get your contacts organized. This Mac OS X application transfers Facebook profile pictures and birthday information to your Mac OS X Address book and iCal ( there's one for Outlook users, too). If your mobile phone supports synchronization with Address Book, when acontact calls, the person's picture will appear. Similarly, contacts' birthdays will synch with your iCal, keeping you updated when you're not logged in to Facebook, too.
The Facebook Toolbar for Firefox is an extension that alerts you to new friend requests, messages and event invitations, so you need visit the site directly only when necessary. The tool bar also lets you set your status and share content directly to your page without leaving the webpage you're currently viewing.
Staff Writer Kristin Burnham covers consumer Web and social technologies for CIO.com. She writes frequently on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. You can follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.
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This story, "4 Facebook Apps to Improve Productivity--Really!" was originally published by CIO.