Social networking is infinitely popular nowadays and peer-to-peer file sharing is as close to it as it gets. So why not combine the two?

That's the goal of the sometimes controversial LimeWire, which announced this week at CES that an overhaul to the LimeWire client and network would incorporate social networking functionality such as instant messaging services, Gmail integration, and more. LimeWire's massive amount of current users - around 70 million - will have the option of turning on these services.

Another upgrade will also offer a privatization of sorts – enabling you to share files only with certain people, such as friends, rather than making them available to everyone by default. There are certainly downsides nonetheless. Often, malware and viruses will try to spread through social networking sites or peer to peer software. Combine the two, and it might make the job of infecting unsuspecting people even easier.

With companies like the RIAA and MPAA roaming the Internet looking for people to sue, many networks have resorted to invitation-only status, and offering this functionality would be a good move for LimeWire.