About a year ago we announced a big change in direction for Plaxo, and since then have been hard at work, quietly rebuilding the Plaxo service. But now, it’s finally here — a day that we’ve been looking forward to for a long time – the launch of an all-new version of the service, Plaxo 3.0. It’s been in private beta for a few weeks, but today we’re opening the doors to everyone at beta.plaxo.com. (Here are links to the official press release and screenshots.)
There’s a lot that’s new in Plaxo 3.0, but the biggest news is that we tackled the really hard problem of sync across an unprecedented breadth of apps and services. We’re now doing automated multi-way sync between:
- Google (starting with Calendar, with Gmail coming soon)
- Microsoft (Outlook, Outlook Express, Vista Mail, and Hotmail)
- Yahoo! (Mail and Calendar)
- Mac OSX Sync Services (for Address Book, iCal, and iPhone)
- AOL (AIM and Classic AOL)
- Mozilla Thunderbird
- Mobile phones
Our new sync platform sync was built using SyncML, an open standard, which means that we’re making it easy for other companies to plug into Plaxo and have the benefit of sync in their own apps. We’ll detail this more on the blog later, but the basic idea is you should be seeing a lot more places to connect with Plaxo in the coming months.
There’s also an entirely new version of plaxo.com, a multi-component “smart address book” web app (an ambitious AJAX app built with Dojo), with tabs for contacts, calendar, tasks, notes, and more. At the bottom, there’s a “sync dashboard,” for easy set-up, monitoring, and management of all your sync endpoints:
The revamped address book component makes getting to your data (and doing something with it) much faster. There’s find-as-you-type search, click-to-call phone numbers (via a mashup with Jajah), plus maps and one-click driving directions (via mashup with Yahoo!):
There’s a fresh spin on online calendaring, some of the fruit from our acquisition last year of the HipCal team. The new calendar features the “Upcoming” view, with gives you instant access to upcoming events today and tomorrow, the weather (via mashup with Weather Underground), “Countdowns” to major events, and embedded photos (via mashup with Flickr):
And there’s one totally new feature that builds on our original vision of keeping you connected to the people you know, but takes it to the next level. It’s called Pulse, and it “brings life to your address book.” Here’s the idea: people you know are creating great online content every day, but discovering it is difficult, and staying on top of it is even harder. Plaxo Pulse takes the effort and complexity out of the process by automating the sharing of feeds, starting with Flickr photos, blogposts, and Amazon Wish Lists, Plaxo contact info, and more on the way.
All of this is now available in simultaneously in English and French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese. And it’s now avilable for free on your mobile phone a http://m.plaxo.com.
As you can probably tell, we’re very excited about this release — and in many ways it represents not just a new version of the Plaxo service, but the launch of an all-new Plaxo, the company.