Online PIM purveyors Plaxo used to have a pretty bad reputation for spamming people from your uploaded address book and pressuring them to join the service. I’m happy to report that this is no longer the case, as I’ve been testing Plaxo for a few weeks now and have yet to receive a single complaint about it from any of my five hundred-plus contacts. With their new “3.0” service I can’t quite say that Plaxo meets the gold standard for “everything available on every device”, but it does look like they are the best of what’s out there if you’re not an ideal candidate for Microsoft Exchange.
For a quick overview of the service I’ll refer you to this online demo:
One big plus for Plaxo on the Mac is that I can use it to sync my Apple Address book and local copy of Thunderbird. You wouldn’t think this would be such a big deal but the two apps use completely different file formats, yet somehow Plaxo is able to seemlessly read and write between them.
Another benefit of using Plaxo comes from their partnership with LinkedIn (aka Facebook for business-types). If you’re on Facebook then you’ll already know that its value correlates directly to how many of your friends are there. It’s the same deal with Plaxo and LinkedIn — whenever my colleagues there update their contact info the changes propagate through Plaxo to the Address Book on my Mac, and I know enough folks who are listed on one or the other to make it worthwhile.
Where Plaxo stumbles is with its lack of support for iCal tasks. It might actually be due to Nokia’s own SyncML implementation; I know from previous PIM 2.0 tests that my events and to-dos are lumped together in the same database on my phone… But if Apple’s calendaring app can read them, surely Plaxo can too?
Oh, and about Plaxo Pulse… It’s this new whiz-bang feature where you can dump all your RSS feeds onto one page for all your friends to follow, but there are lots of other sites jumping on the same bandwagon. More on that in another post…