At its Lotusphere conference, IBM will today announce social networking services for businesses called Connections.

Connections is designed to be a MySpace for offices, and will combine the functions of social networking sites with social bookmarking like del.icio.us and blog searches like Technorati.com.

It will link profiles with activities, blogs, communities and shared bookmarks, called dogear. Designed to make collaborating on projects and sharing information easier, the service works through a tagging system, so users can track what interests them and find colleagues with certain knowledge.

IBM hopes that Connections will heat up its battle with Microsoft, which currently boasts around 200 million Outlook users, and 80 million users of SharePoint, its collaboration software.

Lotus Notes has around 125 million users, with another 25 million who use collaboration software, according to Reuters.

Connections will help colleagues to set up groups, store and share documents, emails and websites. The blogs will allow users to share their ideas and build on them.

It will be available in the first half of the year, with pricing to be announced closer to the release date.