Socially Connected Address Books with Plaxo

Keeping track of contacts is a tricky task. With the advent of social networks there’s been a significant increase in the number of contacts we have in our address book. And, due to the ability to use multiple mail accounts from a single inbox, there is hardly any segregation between work and personal contacts. It will not be pretty if you send a picture of yourself in unicorn pyjamas to your clique, boss and the prospective client as well.

Read more as to how Plaxo can help you bring control to your address book after the jump.

Overview

Plaxo is an address book in the cloud, capable of pulling contacts from a variety of online services like Gmail, Aol, Windows Live, Yahoo, Microsoft Outlook and LinkedIn. Plaxo can also track news feeds from social network destinations like Twitter, Facebook, and other popular sites. That way, you are always in loop with your friends when you need to get in touch.

Overview

Overview

The sign up form is simple with standard fields. Plaxo does require you to specify your gender and they explain up front that it’s used only to address you appropriately. The account has to be activated from the mail sent to your primary email inbox.

Importing Contacts

Plaxo gets straight to business with the click on the activation link. The link leads to the address book aggregation page with a number of email services to choose from. I started with my Gmail account. You will have enter your login credentials — Username & Password — in this page. The Plaxo team promises that they are not storing the login info. and wont be sending any emails without your permission. That’s good enough.

Importing Contacts

Importing Contacts

In the second step , we are shown the list of friends from your address book who are already using Plaxo and asked if we would like to connect with them. I wanted to check out the core service as soon as possible and hence chose not to connect with anyone from my list.

Importing Contacts

Importing Contacts

After skipping the page, I was still not able to see the Dashboard with all my imported contacts. There is yet another page asking if I would like to refer any of my friends to the wonderful Plaxo service. I was so irritated and promised myself that I will send a stinker to all my friends if I see one more “nag” page. Why cant they merge two “nag” pages into one?

Tell Your Friends

Tell Your Friends

I guess Plaxo got a piece of my mind by this time and redirected me to the dashboard.

User Interface

The dashboard is simple and uncluttered. Your profile lists your work and home contact details. You can add more phone numbers, instant messenger, web site information and the like from the profile page.

Dashboard

Dashboard

You are also shown the list of people from your contacts who already have an account at Plaxo. Didn’t we see that same list in the first nag page? These tiered nags are not making a positive impression.

Address Book

Searching for contacts is similar to doing a search for contacts in Gmail. Start typing the name and relevant names start showing up. To view the details of the contact just click on their name and we will taken to the page that allows you to add, edit or even import the details in vCard format.

Searching Contacts

Searching Contacts

You can also favorite contacts with whom you are in constant contact for easy access. Grouping of contacts is also very simple and will come in handy if you choose to send mass mails.

Sharing Stuff

Sharing Stuff

Just like in a social network, you can update your status, share photos, links etc. with your entire address book or select groups in a single click.

Final Thoughts

Plaxo is not a ground breaking app, but it does fill a hole among existing address books of all leading email services. With a Plaxo premium account, you can import contacts from your Outlook account, sync with Windows Mobile, access VIP support, etc. However, it is extremely hard to find the pricing details for this premium plan from Plaxo’s homepage. I learnt that it will cost you $59.95 annually only when submitting credit card details for the free 30 day trail — that too written in not so large fonts.

If you have got a huge address book that needs to be organized in groups and backed up online, Plaxo is the right tool. Do give Plaxo a spin and let us know of your thoughts in the comments section.


Summary

Plaxo is a unified, smart address book that helps you stay in touch with your valuable work and personal contacts.

  • Plaxo  | 
  • Free / $59.95 annually  | 
  • Plaxo, Inc.
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  • I just joined Plaxo yesterday (what a coincidence that this review is published the day after I join) and I’m liking it’s simple and organised UI. I find it to be a good alternative to other social networks and it doubles as a address book. I also like how I can control privacy settings real easily, from showing up in their directory to sharing my profile and stream publicly or to friends and family only.