LinkedIn is proud to be participating in this week’s launch of Open Social, a new set of open APIs to allow developers to easily build and deploy social applications across the web.

As a software developer, small company, or large corporation, you have choices of where to invest your time. How do you get the most return on the time you invest in writing code? The web brought about huge advantages in the platforms you could reach, replacing highly proprietary desktop operating systems. We all flocked to the web. Now, Google does the same with social applications.

Marc Andreessen did a great job reviewing many of the details around Open Social, so rather than replicate his words here, I’m going to just focus on what Open Social will mean for LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has a community of over 15 million professionals now, including executives from all 500 companies in the Fortune 500.  We’re dedicated to providing great business applications that make professionals more productive every day, and we want the broadest set of those great applications possible.  Open Social provides us with a mechanism for developers of great business applications to leverage the power of the LinkedIn professional network and reach that audience, all using known web-standards of HTML & Javascript.

At LinkedIn, we’ll support business applications that fit our focus on great business applications for professionals. Got a great idea for a business application you think LinkedIn users will gain from? Open Social is a way to get it into LinkedIn and any other compatible platform you want to target. We’ll follow up with a blog posting detailing our approach and how to get involved.

LinkedIn signed up for this vision because we believe that the web architecture rewards open models. They are good for end users, good for developers, and thus good for LinkedIn.

I had the chance yesterday to spend quite a bit of time with the partners who are launching Open Social later this week – Max Levchin & Keith Rabois from Slide, Marc Andreessen from Ning, Joe Kraus from Google, Ali Partovi from iLike, Ramu Yalimanchi & Akash Garg from Hi5.  It was great to see this much energy around a new open standard for social applications.

Open Social is only part of the larger story for LinkedIn about leveraging the power of your professional network, both on and off the LinkedIn site.