Social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn can help you get in touch with people. And LinkedIn's strength is that although it's sociable, it's also businesslike and business-oriented. But like most social networks, LinkedIn isn't a great place to store and share documents and similar files.

All those docs you'd like your network contacts to see aren't shareable... that is, unless you have Box.net's OpenBox Services for LinkedIn. This app turns LinkedIn into something of a virtual thumb drive, one that's easy to share with contacts.

Box.net's LinkedIn app is called "Box.net Files." To add it, you simply click its link and then grant it permission to access your social network account.

Using the app requires that you sign up for a free Box.net account (a link to do so is provided from within the app), which comes with 5GB of online storage and limits sharing to files less than 25MB in size. If you want more space and options, you can purchase more storage or upgrade to Box.net's paid Business plan.

Once you're signed up, you're up and running on LinkedIn's Box.net Files. It features a neat and clean layout, and it allows you to easily upload files or create folders. You can share single documents or entire folders with your social network contacts, and if you're signed up for Box.net's free Facebook app as well, you can share across social networks, too, uniting the most popular and the most reliable one. You also can opt to share just a web link to a file, and can share via email, too.

If you already have a Box.net account, you'll see your stored files and folders appear on LinkedIn. This automatic synchronisation is one of the nicest features of this cloud-based service. All files that you add to your LinkedIn account automatically appear in your Box.net account (that you access via the service's main site) and your Facebook Files account, too, if you use both apps. This makes it a cinch to make sure you always have the files you need.

OUR VERDICT

Box.net's LinkedIn app is free and nicely designed, and it brings Box.net's handy online storage features to you at a site you already visit. The 30 seconds it takes to get the service up and running is time well spent. And if some of your business contacts are buddies as well, you might take a look at Box.net's similar app for Facebbook.