Plaxo 3.0: Bringing web and desktop PIM together like never before
For about a month now, the kind folks at Plaxo have allowed us to play with the beta of Plaxo 3.0, a major update to their unique service that takes the 'management' out of desktop + online PIM. As if the present version's ability to synchronize your contact and calendar information between Mac OS X, Windows, Linux and some online services wasn't enough, Plaxo's ability to automatically update your address book whenever a fellow Plaxo user changes their information was a pretty unique feature that really let the company's vision shine. After playing with this new beta, however, we feel comfortable saying that Plaxo 3.0 could very well be nothing short of revolutionary to world of data management and synchronization.
While the Plaxo folk understandably won't allow us to spill too many details, we can at least give you a general overview of what all the fuss is about. The most significant change in this upcoming version is the addition of some major new 'sync points,' which are applications and web services Plaxo can synchronize with, impressively spanning the entire digital globe of OSes and web brands. In our screenshot above you see five points: Plaxo (of course), Google (yep: Gmail and, soon to come, Calendar), Windows Mail in Vista, Mac OS X's Address Book and iCal and even Yahoo!'s Address Book and (soon to come) calendar. Another major new sync point (requiring a paid Plaxo account) is LInkedIn, allowing users access the increasingly popular social network based on who has worked with who. Never before have we seen so much synchronizing power built in such a smart and streamlined tool. Amazingly, a lot of this new functionality will still apparently be provided for free, with a few select sync points and the rest of Plaxo's services (such as e-cards, Address Book recovery, storing more than 1000 contacts and 24-7 support) being made available to paid accounts.
Other new features in the Plaxo 3.0 beta reveal a new 'dashboard for your life' aspect to the service, which is also pulled off pretty well. Some of the online tools allow you to view basic things like the week's weather, while others allow you to easily watch RSS feeds for Flickr photos, friends' Amazon wishlists and blogs.
That's about all we should talk about for now, however, but stay tuned for a full review and screenshot gallery as soon as we can schmooze the Plaxo guys into greenlighting them. In the meantime, if you're already a current Plaxo user or we have just piqued your interest, we recommend cleaning up your address book and finally getting into the habit of actually jotting down your week's appointments and todos in Outlook, iCal, Google Calendar or any of the other services Plaxo will help you synchronize. This way, if you do it once, the new Plaxo should ensure you might never have to again.