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November 06, 2006

Plaxo: the smart auto update address book

Plaxo is an innovative address book for Outlook and Outlook Express that has just gone mobile. With Plaxo mobile, you can select just the contacts you want synced with your mobile device.

Get Plaxo here: A Plaxo toolbar is available for Mac Outlook and Outlook Express, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Thuderbird, and for a limited number of mobile phones.

If you are still updating your contact information by hand, get smart and let Plaxo do it. The process is simple and quick. You can actually watch it happen. Once you have installed the software, you simply click on Update Contacts on the Plaxo tool bar. Watch Plaxo update contacts that already use Plaxo and invite your other contacts to send you update information if appropriate. From now on, your contact information will automatically update as it changes. Plaxo’s Universal Address Book is at the center of this universe in which your friends, family, and colleagues keep their info up-to-date, and everyone’s information updates automatically. You can easily import your contact information from Outlook, Outlook Express, Yahoo, and Hotmail into your Universal Address Book. Unfortunately, you can’t import data from Gmail. Once you’ve created it, you can access it from AIM, on the Web, and on your phone or PDA. You can sync between home and work, and it’s securely backed up for safe-keeping.
When anything changes in your contact information, just update on your own address card in Outlook, and your contacts will instantly receive the update information in their address books. All of this happens by permission only. You can decide who gets the information and who doesn’t. When anything in the Universal Address Book updates, you will receive an email alert.

Remember that you can access your address book online from anywhere from any computer or handheld device. But, that’s not all; Plaxo syncs your notes, calendar, and tasks as well.

You can initiate an IM session from Outlook using the AIM icon when a contact is online. Plaxo will also remind you of everyone’s birthday for whom that information is available. With Plaxo, you can create your own email signature complete with fancy type and graphics.

You can sign up for the Plaxo basic service free. The Plaxo Premium service costs $49.95 per year. You can try the Premium service free for 30 days. Here is a chart comparing the free service to the Premium service:

With the Premium service, you can send unlimited ecards free, which I appreciate being able to do right from Outlook. If you wish to subscribe to the ecard program separately, it costs $19.95 per year. The Premium edition will also allow you to cleanse your system of those pesky duplicate contacts that inevitably accumulate as you sync between various devices. This service in alone is worth the cost of a subscription as far as I’m concerned.

However, when the program identifies duplicates and suggests a merge, your only options are to abandon the process or to accept the merge. I hope that future versions will allow you to edit the cards and or delete them as appropriate.

Plaxo Mobile Plus allows you to access all of your contacts, calendar, tasks, and notes online with your mobile device. However, if your device already syncs with Outlook, this is not so important as it would be for less intelligent, non-Windows Mobile phones without this feature. The best thing about Mobile Plus is that it allows you to sync your data over the air so that you don’t have to be tethered to your desktop. You can also specify which contacts you want to sync.

Unfortunately, Plaxo Mobile Plus is only available for a handful of mobile devices at this time. To check to see if your device is included, go here: It is not available for Windows Mobile devices, but is not really needed either because WM5 devices will sync with Plaxo desktop data.

Posted by tim at November 6, 2006 07:04 PM


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