Plaxo has been around for a long time. I signed up with them many years ago when they were first starting out. The main idea behind Plaxo was to have your contact information available on the web. When someone you know also signs up with Plaxo, you would be connected, much link LinkedIn. When someone you’re connected to moves, changes jobs, gets a new cell phone your address book will automatically be updated. Likewise if you change your profile, their address books will also be updated. It’s a fantastic concept, but in my case, wasn’t very useful as the majority of my contacts were not online. Let alone signed up for Plaxo.
Recently Plaxo underwent some changes and have released a beta of Plaxo version 3. They still provide the same functionality of keeping your address books up to date online, but now they’ve taken the concept even further by including more sync and sharing functionality. The new Plaxo includes a Sync Dashboard which provides multiple sync point on one centralized location. You can synchronize with Yahoo!, AOL, Google Calendar (and Gmail contacts soon), LinkedIn (with subscription), Thunderbird, Mac OSX, Outlook, Vista Mail and Hotmail. Also they have an application for your mobile phone.
This is such an invaluable tool for me as I have some contacts in my address book in Outlook that I use for work, I have some contacts on my Mac at home, as well as contacts stored in Google Gmail and Yahoo! mail. I primarily use Google calendar for scheduling, but also have events stored in Outlook (meetings and such for work). With the use of the new Plaxo, I can now have all that information automatically synchronized.
I’ve used different sync tools in the past, some have worked, many have not. I must say I am very impressed with the Plaxo beta. Aside from the lack of Gmail contact support, which is still being developed, I haven’t had any problems syncing.
The address book includes some new features like Find-as-you-type search, Yahoo directions, and Jajah Click-To-Call buttons. The new calendar is based on HipCal, which Plaxo acquired last year. An “Upcoming” view displays Yahoo weather, Countdowns, and Flickr photo mash-ups and the ability to share your calendar. I tend to prefer this over my old Google Calendar. Plaxo also includes a Task list and a place for Notes. Personally I prefer to use Vitalist for tasks and Google Notebook for notes.
The latest feature to be added to Plaxo is what they call Pulse, it’s an interesting way to share RSS feeds with your connections. You set up your feeds in Plaxo and control who can see what information in your social network.
Overall the new Plaxo has become an invaluable tool that I’m now using daily. If you use multiple PCs or online services and need to sync contacts and calendars, I think Plaxo will fulfill your needs.