Network management company Spiceworks has launched a new version of its software offering users the ability to draw network maps and introducing a number of third-party applications based on the company's public API. Spiceworks has also enhanced the social media aspect of the software by introducing the ability to link to Twitter feeds.

According to Jay Hallberg, Spiceworks' vice president of business development. the company sets great store on what its users say and act accordingly. "The network mapping was number one request," he said, "so that's what we concentrated on."

The company has used a Google Maps look-and-feel rather than the more traditional network diagram software. Users can click on a particular network cloud to get in-depth information on devices on that network, including IP address and vendors. He said that the product doesn't cope so well with virtualisation "VMs will show up in the inventory ," he said but "there's a bit of work to get them to show up on the map." However, he pointed out that Spiceworks' core user base of small and mid-sized businesses would be less interested in virtualisation.

The ability to add third-party applications is also very important said Hallberg. "We've added third-party applications from Microsoft, LiveOffice, Trend Micro and Intel," he added. "We're currently talking with a lot more vendors and should roll out further announcements later this year. We've also got some 70 plug-ins developed by users who have also made use of the API."

The company has also implemented a Facebook-style look-and-feel to show how devices have been configured so that users wanting to catch up on the history of a device will have ready access to instant information.

Spiceworks, whose free software is funded by advertising, has been steadily been growing its user base. Hallberg said that the company had about 700,000 users now, of whom 82,000 were in the UK.