Monday, June 25, 2007

I've made no secret of the fact that I am a fan of Plaxo.  The ability to backup and replicate contacts and calendar information, combined with the ability to automatically update contacts with new information, make it a killer app.  I've been using it for a long time.

Last week I loaded their new beta — Plaxo 3.0.  Today is the unveiling.  Others have written much about it, so I won't bother with every detail.  However, for me, there are two new killer features:

  1. It synchronizes across many new data sources.  As of Friday I had one master address book and calendar, in Plaxo, which now feeds Outlook (and by extension my Blackberry), hotmail, and GMail.  While Plaxo can import LinkedIn contacts, it doesn't synch them back, which is too bad.  Nonetheless, I've now combined all my address books, deduped them, and synched them back.  That's a first.
  2. It now knows how to behave in an Exchange server environment.  Previously, if you installed Plaxo on more than one PC attached to an exchange server, you would have bizarre behaviour including multiple items replicated in the address books and contacts.  Now it knows about each and every PC, and ensures that updates happen correctly.

They've also become much more open, implementing SyncML, which means that any SyncML enabled address book or contact list should be easier to integrate with Plaxo.  Nice move! 

I haven't played with their slick new web UI much yet, primarily due to the same observations as Om Malik and Robert Scoble made — it's slow. Nor have I played with their new (and very nice looking) mobile app, since they only support US carriers.

Plaxo 3.0 is a great step forward. 

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After all the attention that Grand Central has received, the rumour on the street is that they may have been acquired by Google for a cool $50 million. If true, it reveals a lot more of Google's hand than we've seen previously.  Until now, they've studiously avoided any knd of service which connects them directly with the PSTN.  GoogleTalk famously relies on third parties to provide origination and termination services.  With Grand Central in the mix, however, that would no longer be true.  Grand Central's message of One Phone Number, for life also fits nicely with Google's aspirations to be your one mailbox, and online identity resource. 

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It’s not a baby, Reid. It’s an API.

June 25, 2007

Reports are that LinkedIn will provide an API, opening up to developers a la Facebook.  It may take nine months to do it.  In my opinion, that may be too long to wait.  Facebook has momentum now, and with their API, are capable of exerting extreme competitive pressure on LinkedIn now.  Example: some months ago, […]

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