Online office suite producer Zoho has partnered with Facebook to offer three new applications on the popular social networking site, and some of the few such applications intended for any productive use.

On Tuesday, Zoho revealed its word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications —called Writer, Sheet and Show, respectively —are now available to add to Facebook user profiles.

The Facebook tie-in should give Zoho a leg up against rival Google Office in popularizingthe new web-based office suite.

Zoho claims 30 per cent of its users are students, the same demographic at which Facebook was first targeted. The Zoho-Facebook partnership may immediately provide a massive user base for the new applications.

They are the first office tools on Facebook and among the few applications with any serious intent. Aside from a few tools providing stock quotes or classified ads, most of the 1,000-plus Facebook applications fall within the realm of the useless but entertaining, such as SuperPoke!, which allows you to (virtually) caress, sucker-punch or throw sheep at your friends.

However, the potential usefulness may be a weakness. As a critic on technology website Rev2.org, pointed out, "[This is a] waste of time. People get on Facebook to goof off. Spreadsheets are *not* fun."

Criticism aside, Zoho's product has been well-received and is becoming widely available. Its office suite recently made PC World magazine's list of the 100 Best Products of 2007 and Writer beat out Google's Docs & Spreadsheet tool as best web-based word processor.

The company also just released iZoho, a suite with mobile versions of Writer, Sheet and Show, designed specifically for use on the Apple iPhone.