You Got Your Plaxo in my Facebook!

January 15th, 2008

VentureBeat reported that Facebook is set to buy Plaxo and speculates that the latter company’s huge database of email addresses and its technology for syncing contacts across platforms could be driving factors. That sounds like a reasonable idea, and it might be just as likely that any acquisition is a preemptive one to keep Plaxo’s technology from being snapped up by another social network.

Whatever the reasons, and assuming there is any truth to the rumor it sounds like a great idea. I have accounts on Plaxo and Facebook and check them both almost daily. I’ve realized they are nearly complete opposites: Facebook has a wealth of “stuff” happening with all the various applications my friends use, but it’s a roach motel- data goes in but has a hard time getting out.

Plaxo, on the other hand, is a completely open list of many more of my contacts, but with nothing much happening. I get news feed updates showing my friends’ Twitter and blog posts, updated contact information and birthdays, but that’s about it. Nothing original.

A merger that combined Plaxo’s openness with Facebook’s usefulness could be interesting somewhere down the line. I (along with probably just about everyone else) would love to check out new social websites from time to time without having to re-invent my social graph on every one just to make it useful. If Facebook could Plaxo-sync-invite my friends into applications that live outside of Facebook (I gave up on Tumblr after about 15 minutes because I didn’t know anyone else on it)- now that would be neat.

P.S.   I’d be pleased if Plaxo’s current or future management made it a little more difficult to send “connect with me” invitations. I realized recently that I accidentally spammed every single person in my address book- including all the people I met once and don’t really know- with an invitation.  Sorry about that.

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