What’s Plaxo?

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Plaxo is an online address book and social / business networking service which provides automated information updates.

1.    Address book – Users can store contact information on Plaxo’s servers. When users edit this information, the changes automatically appear in the address books of all their contacts to ensure everyone always has your most up to date contact details.

2.    Networking service – known as ‘Plaxo Pulse’.  It enables the sharing of content from various social web sources, including social networking services, photos, blogs, social bookmarking services and others. Users can select the content they would like to view/share according to pre-determined categories such as family, friends, business or customised groups.

Plaxo can be maintained both online and via a plug-in. The plug-in supports all the major address books including Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Mac OS X’s address book. Other address books can be supported through an application programming interface. On 30th July 2009, Plaxo moved their previously free Outlook synchronization services to a premium (paid for) service.

Once users have stored their contacts on Plaxo’s server, it is possible for them to list connections between contacts and access their address book from anywhere in the world.

Although very popular in its own right with 20 million plus users, there are even more popular sites with comparable features.

It appears that the obstacle blocking Plaxo’s way towards the upper echelons of social media is Plaxo itself. During Plaxo’s infancy, individuals who happened to be in the address book of a Plaxo user would be inundated with spam type emails, requesting that they update their contact details. Although the necessary steps have been taken to rectify this issue, many ‘would be’ users are wary of Plaxo and fear being subjected to internet nasties such as spam, ad ware and spy ware.

I feel that Plaxo’s social media synchronisation/integration features will ultimately shape its fortunes. Even if doesn’t achieve Facebook or Twitter levels of notoriety it may one day be able to lay claim to having set some sort of precedent within its medium.

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