I was shocked to run into the Plaxo team at SXSW with a new initiative. They are restructuring their focus back into address book management. This was their beginning before they strayed into trying to compete with other social networks. While they had the connectivity framework built by you holding an addres book on the site, they missed bringing in features to be a killer social network.
Luckily their CEO, Justin Miller, has made a stellar quote:
Plaxo is back and we’ve got a relentless focus on the address book
A good strategic shift with companies like Gist being bought by Research In Motion (RIM or BlackBerry as some know them). Plaxo has rebranded and added features to make a suite, with some free and some paid, which I cover in the below screencast.
Plaxo Basic: Unification of fragmented contact info, access anywhere, anytime; now includes Plaxo De-Duper (free service)
Plaxo for Mobile: Apps for iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile (free service); Android app coming soon
Plaxo eCards: Cards for 50+ occasions and birthday reminders (free/paid service)
Plaxo Platinum Sync: Two-way, real-time sync keeps your address book consistent and accessible from the essential communication tools you use (paid service)
Plaxo Personal Assistant: New intelligent productivity service which automatically maintains critical address book information (paid service)
Pricing: Platinum Sync and Personal Assistant are offered individually or at a discount when purchased together
Plaxo is also making some more changes in 2011 to add tighter integration with Microsoft Outlook, adding new platforms and updating others, and adding more data sources to complete listings in your address book.
I did not totally agree with their pricing model yet, as it seemed high for entry and to get people onboarded. They also want to sync contacts everywhere which is a conundrum for people like myself that want Facebook to be private friends, one Google account to be business and another personal.
While you can manipulate the settings to have them collect and consolidate the data, it is tricky to allow some data to overwrite, some to sync and others to build from sources without losing something unique you may have. So be cautious when you begin testing and clicking options.
In the end Plaxo has a huge wall to scale to get it’s name back as the contact management resource. The tools they are offering could help escalate them quickly, mainly if the mobile applications provide as much functionality as promised.