Plaxo 3.0, the new “Switzerland” of social networks, but…

UPDATE: Not yet on TechCrunch (as of 10:13 p.m.)! Damn, it’s not often that I scoop Mike Arrington by more than an hour on an important Web product launch! Hi Mike! :-) Heck, as of 10:48 p.m. it’s not up on Om Malik’s site, either.

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/06/PID_011704/Podtech_PLAXO_demo.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/3420/plaxos-new-social-contact-platform-demonstrated&totalTime=1063000&breadcrumb=2ee0a7c78733475cb08ebe2d0b92346d]

I really want to love the new Plaxo. The 18-minute demo I got last week is awesome — see it embedded above. They’ve completely rebuilt the system from scratch and removed the reliance on Outlook and the negative “send spam to your friends” kind of stuff.

UPDATE: Here’s an interview I did with the chief platform architect and VP of marketing of Plaxo and here’s the demo video which shows us what’s cool and new about the new Plaxo.

It’s now a Web service. In fact you can use Plaxo without loading any software. All to manage your contacts. For someone like me that still has most of my contacts in Outlook the new Plaxo is a godsend. It lets me move my contacts, my calendar data, and other things out of Outlook and onto other platforms.

You can move things over to Google, AIM, Yahoo, the Mac’s iCal, and a variety of other applications and cell phones.

It is really awesome.

Now comes the “but.”

In my tests today it was way too slow. It’s not synching reliably with my Outlook 2007 running on Parallels on the Mac. Had to drop back to XP and Office 2003 to get it to work right. Even then it took hours to sync up my stuff and I only have 378 contacts in Outlook and a moderately complex calendar.

Also, I just checked my Gmail account and it didn’t synch those yet. Gotta go and figure that out.

On the other hand it now is encroaching on social networking apps like LinkedIn and Facebook. If they can get it all to work (and get filters for my cell phones and LinkedIn and Facebook itself) then it’d be great. UPDATE: the new Plaxo 3.0 already hooks up to LinkedIn, can someone try that and report on how it works?

Speaking of filters. When you log into the new Plaxo it doesn’t yet hook up with anything. You have to tell it how to hook up with things like Outlook and Gmail.

This will be MUCH clearer after you see the demo video. It really is pretty brilliant design for adding on new functionality. It’s just that there’s a lot missing that we need to really give the new Plaxo a five star review.

You’ll want to use this, though. When it works it’s the best way to manage your contacts.

If you try it out, what do you think?

UPDATE: Plaxo competitor LinkedIn today let leak that they are thinking of opening its platform up to developers. That’s a smart way to keep people on LinkedIn.

UPDATE2: there are several other articles about Plaxo 3.0 already up on TechMeme and I’ll put the best ones, as usual, on my link blog as well.

UPDATE3: If you try out the new Plaxo, make sure to add me as a contact and see if it brings down all my info. My email is robertscoble@hotmail.com

104 thoughts on “Plaxo 3.0, the new “Switzerland” of social networks, but…

  1. Pingback: RobNeville.Net
  2. I’ve been using Plaxo for a while now and I am using Firefox on Linux to access it, and have been syncing with LinkedIn and Thunderbird on Linux. I have to say so far I am pretty impressed. My contact list is probably small by comparison to some people out there (~120) but it seems to work fine for me. I use the calendar pretty extensively too now. I appreciate there are some bugs but overall I think it is a great tool – just need more people to sign up to maximise the benefit.

    As you mention, Facebook integration and mobile syncing (in the UK – the US already have it I believe) would be superb.

  3. I’ve been using Plaxo for a while now and I am using Firefox on Linux to access it, and have been syncing with LinkedIn and Thunderbird on Linux. I have to say so far I am pretty impressed. My contact list is probably small by comparison to some people out there (~120) but it seems to work fine for me. I use the calendar pretty extensively too now. I appreciate there are some bugs but overall I think it is a great tool – just need more people to sign up to maximise the benefit.

    As you mention, Facebook integration and mobile syncing (in the UK – the US already have it I believe) would be superb.

  4. “UPDATE3: If you try out the new Plaxo, make sure to add me as a contact and see if it brings down all my info. My email is robertscoble@hotmail.com

    - I added your email address to Plaxo 3.0 and received your complete sync info.
    - I used my Plaxo 2.0 Outlook toolbar to sync with online Plaxo 3.0 and only received your email address (which also shows as the name field) in Outlook.
    - 1) I upgraded my Outlook Plaxo toolbar to 3.x; 2) sync’d from the Outlook Plaxo toolbar with Web Plaxo 3.0; 3) Your complete contact info appeared in Outlook Contacts.

    BL: Sync’ing between desktop OL and Web Plaxo 3.0 means that OL Plaxo toolbar also must be v. 3.0.

  5. “UPDATE3: If you try out the new Plaxo, make sure to add me as a contact and see if it brings down all my info. My email is robertscoble@hotmail.com

    - I added your email address to Plaxo 3.0 and received your complete sync info.
    - I used my Plaxo 2.0 Outlook toolbar to sync with online Plaxo 3.0 and only received your email address (which also shows as the name field) in Outlook.
    - 1) I upgraded my Outlook Plaxo toolbar to 3.x; 2) sync’d from the Outlook Plaxo toolbar with Web Plaxo 3.0; 3) Your complete contact info appeared in Outlook Contacts.

    BL: Sync’ing between desktop OL and Web Plaxo 3.0 means that OL Plaxo toolbar also must be v. 3.0.

  6. Still not ready for prime time – it looks terrific (had no rendering troubles on Firefox myself), but I lost addressbook data (sometimes entire records, sometimes just particular fields).

  7. Still not ready for prime time – it looks terrific (had no rendering troubles on Firefox myself), but I lost addressbook data (sometimes entire records, sometimes just particular fields).

  8. I was interested in the calendar sync functionality.
    Outlook is my main calendar but I like to have access to it in Google or Yahoo (or Plaxo).
    However, I tend to set up generic repeating appointments, and then edit each one to record actual start/end times. When I edited an appointment in Plaxo, it changed EVERY occurence !
    I have deleted my calendar from Plaxo and will re-sync it from Outlook.
    (I just hope it does NOT go the other way !)
    Ross
    http://www.rossgoodman.com

  9. I was interested in the calendar sync functionality.
    Outlook is my main calendar but I like to have access to it in Google or Yahoo (or Plaxo).
    However, I tend to set up generic repeating appointments, and then edit each one to record actual start/end times. When I edited an appointment in Plaxo, it changed EVERY occurence !
    I have deleted my calendar from Plaxo and will re-sync it from Outlook.
    (I just hope it does NOT go the other way !)
    Ross
    http://www.rossgoodman.com

  10. I use MS Outlook 2007. I have been a Plaxo user for two or three years. I depend on it completely because I use public computers most of the time and need access to my contacts, so I am a fan of the application. Plaxo 2.0 however has problems as follows:
    1) It does not allow me to move my contacts from one folder to another. I have to download all the contacts into Outlook in order to move contacts among folders. It makes the use of folders useless.
    2) It does not recognize duplicates that are located in different folders. So I have about 1000 contacts of which about 50% are duplicates that I cannot dedupe because they are in different folders.
    3) I linked Plaxo to my Yahoo and now I have triplicates of all my contacts because Plaxo created a separate folder for my Yahoo contacts.
    I do not dare try the Beta 3.0 because I may end up with four versions of my contacts, with new and obsolete information that I would have to sort out manually. I am almost horrified by what 3.0 might bring, because I have not been able to get the company to fix version 2.0.

  11. I use MS Outlook 2007. I have been a Plaxo user for two or three years. I depend on it completely because I use public computers most of the time and need access to my contacts, so I am a fan of the application. Plaxo 2.0 however has problems as follows:
    1) It does not allow me to move my contacts from one folder to another. I have to download all the contacts into Outlook in order to move contacts among folders. It makes the use of folders useless.
    2) It does not recognize duplicates that are located in different folders. So I have about 1000 contacts of which about 50% are duplicates that I cannot dedupe because they are in different folders.
    3) I linked Plaxo to my Yahoo and now I have triplicates of all my contacts because Plaxo created a separate folder for my Yahoo contacts.
    I do not dare try the Beta 3.0 because I may end up with four versions of my contacts, with new and obsolete information that I would have to sort out manually. I am almost horrified by what 3.0 might bring, because I have not been able to get the company to fix version 2.0.

  12. Great preview if not a bit of the rose colored glasses thing going on. :)

    Added you, worked fine, near instantaneous.

    Found other contacts located on Plaxo, and sent out an update. I was able to work with Pulse, it’s straightforward enough.

    Plaxo has display problems in Firefox on the Mac. It might just be Firefox though. Someone else should check that.

    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Great preview if not a bit of the rose colored glasses thing going on. :)

    Added you, worked fine, near instantaneous.

    Found other contacts located on Plaxo, and sent out an update. I was able to work with Pulse, it’s straightforward enough.

    Plaxo has display problems in Firefox on the Mac. It might just be Firefox though. Someone else should check that.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Robert: Ha! I know it’s almost impossible but I do hope they realize that users don’t want to get latched onto a particular network and that they should win purely on the quality of their product. This is just like the case of using Flickr API to transfer user photos from Flickr to Zooomr-which even Stewart Butterfield says should be allowed. He himself said that they should win on the quality of their service. I don’t have the link to that forum post by Stewart, but I suppose you’ll know about it. If Microsoft believes it’s got the best product in the market, then it’s got nothing to worry about!

  16. Robert: Ha! I know it’s almost impossible but I do hope they realize that users don’t want to get latched onto a particular network and that they should win purely on the quality of their product. This is just like the case of using Flickr API to transfer user photos from Flickr to Zooomr-which even Stewart Butterfield says should be allowed. He himself said that they should win on the quality of their service. I don’t have the link to that forum post by Stewart, but I suppose you’ll know about it. If Microsoft believes it’s got the best product in the market, then it’s got nothing to worry about!

  17. Calling Plaxo the “Switzerland” of social networks or the “Switzerland” of personal infomation is misleading. I can’t see any aspect that would qualify Plaxo to be the “Switzerland” of social networks or of personal information. By Swiss standards, the product is unfit for the market.

  18. Calling Plaxo the “Switzerland” of social networks or the “Switzerland” of personal infomation is misleading. I can’t see any aspect that would qualify Plaxo to be the “Switzerland” of social networks or of personal information. By Swiss standards, the product is unfit for the market.

  19. I tried Plaxo, synced with gmail. my contacts did not import. But I am really disappointed that they do not have mobile sync. They only have mobile access, which is a lame replacement for real mobile sync. Guys should look at what GooSync have done. It syncs your calendar via syncML using whatever internet connection you’ve got. Since I am on an unlimited HSDPA plan, it rocks. I am back to goosync.

    P.S. If someone figured out how to delete Plaxo account, let me know here.

  20. I tried Plaxo, synced with gmail. my contacts did not import. But I am really disappointed that they do not have mobile sync. They only have mobile access, which is a lame replacement for real mobile sync. Guys should look at what GooSync have done. It syncs your calendar via syncML using whatever internet connection you’ve got. Since I am on an unlimited HSDPA plan, it rocks. I am back to goosync.

    P.S. If someone figured out how to delete Plaxo account, let me know here.

  21. sisirkoppaka: let me know when Microsoft lets you take all your contacts out of Outlook and put them into Gmail or some other contact-hungry application. Doubt it’ll ever happen.

  22. sisirkoppaka: let me know when Microsoft lets you take all your contacts out of Outlook and put them into Gmail or some other contact-hungry application. Doubt it’ll ever happen.

  23. What will happen to Plaxo if Microsoft decides to open up Outlook and add a web service to it-like Plaxo! It’s not so difficult but if Microsoft does it, then Plaxo’s gone, isn’t it? Don’t you think this isn’t a very good idea, however good it’s implementation may be?
    Of course, Microsoft hasn’t done any of those things yet, so no problem, Plaxo’s hale and hearty today, but the fact is that Microsoft could always do a better job of this…

  24. What will happen to Plaxo if Microsoft decides to open up Outlook and add a web service to it-like Plaxo! It’s not so difficult but if Microsoft does it, then Plaxo’s gone, isn’t it? Don’t you think this isn’t a very good idea, however good it’s implementation may be?
    Of course, Microsoft hasn’t done any of those things yet, so no problem, Plaxo’s hale and hearty today, but the fact is that Microsoft could always do a better job of this…

  25. You convinced me! I signed up! I can’t tell you whether it’s fast or slow though, only that it brings up a page saying it won’t work with Opera. I prefer Opera to Plaxo, so no Plaxo for me.

  26. You convinced me! I signed up! I can’t tell you whether it’s fast or slow though, only that it brings up a page saying it won’t work with Opera. I prefer Opera to Plaxo, so no Plaxo for me.

  27. Hi,Scoble.
    I always admire your work.
    I also am trying Plaxo 3.0 out.
    Could add your hotmail account easily.
    Sometimes it seems buggy, but it works properly most of the time.
    Thanks for introducing a cool stuff like this!

  28. Hi,Scoble.
    I always admire your work.
    I also am trying Plaxo 3.0 out.
    Could add your hotmail account easily.
    Sometimes it seems buggy, but it works properly most of the time.
    Thanks for introducing a cool stuff like this!

  29. Sure, it looks good from a VP of Marketing, but from an implementation standpoint there still is a ton of work to do before I would even touch it. Plus, Plaxo’s rep doesn’t sit well with me.

  30. Sure, it looks good from a VP of Marketing, but from an implementation standpoint there still is a ton of work to do before I would even touch it. Plus, Plaxo’s rep doesn’t sit well with me.

  31. rslux, Plaxo does indeed sync with Thunderbird. It’s how I’ve been using it for months. You just need to download the add-in here. It’s beta, and not as good as the Outlook plug-in, but it gets the job done.

  32. rslux, Plaxo does indeed sync with Thunderbird. It’s how I’ve been using it for months. You just need to download the add-in here. It’s beta, and not as good as the Outlook plug-in, but it gets the job done.

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