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The 7 best Facebook apps--according to Facebook

A recent event provided a good opportunity to get the skinny on popular Facebook applications. Find out what your friends are using as well as what applications Facebook insiders use and like.

After the Always On conference program closed on Wednesday, I headed over to the Lunch 2.0 event (it started at 5 p.m., but who's counting?) at Facebook HQ. When I got there, the room was packed with Facebook employees and builders. (See the video for a peek at the crowd; yes, that's Scoble.) I thought it would be a good opportunity to get the skinny on good Facebook applications. Beyond the statistically popular applications, and the applications you see that your friends are using, I wanted to know what applications Facebook insiders use and like.

Here's the weird thing: I had to talk to more than 20 people to come up with a good list. Several people said they didn't use Facebook applications. Granted, some of those were Lunch 2.0 hangers-on who just showed up for the free beer. But some were developers, and even some Facebook employees.

Still, several applications were clearly popular among the Facebookerati. Here they are. (You'll need a Facebook login to try these out.)

You may touch the monkey.

  • (fluff)Friends. This application lets you put a fuzzy pet on your profile that your friends can feed and pet. You need "munny" to buy food for your pet, and you earn it by petting your friends' pets. Horrible. But three people mentioned this application to me.
  • Scrabulous is Scrabble in Facebook. Scrabble is a great social game. Facebook is a great social directory. This is a great idea.
  • E-mail Me Instead, aka Xobni, is a little application for old folks like me who still like e-mail. It gives your profile visitors a quick way to drop you an e-mail, so you don't have to communicate through Facebook.
  • How to make me look sharp.

  • Appsaholic is a Facebook ranking service. No surprise that it was popular at the Facebook HQ. It shows which applications are getting traction, and displays nice charts and graphs of usage.
  • Picnik is the Facebook version of a very cool Web-based image editing application. The advantage of the Facebook port is simple: You can use it to edit your Facebook pictures. Without leaving Facebook to do so.
  • Graffiti. If installed, this lets friends deface a small area of your profile page. Most people who mentioned this application didn't like using it, since they found it hard to create good-looking tags on other peoples' pages, but they kind of still liked it on their own pages.
  • Finally, Flixster is a group movie rating site. After you rate a bunch of movies, it tells you which of your friends you are most compatible with--at least as movie buddies.