Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Plaxo Drops Social and Returns to Address Book Roots

Plaxo, the address book maintainer founded in 2002 that was bought by Comcast in 2008, had gotten into social Web aggregation along the way, launching a social network called Pulse (later “Stream”) that aggregated users’ contacts’ online activity. It was an interesting move back in the summer of 2007, and probably helped the company get acquired.

But now, at a time where you can find such social aggregators everywhere, and with much of the company leadership having left the building, Plaxo is getting rid of social. At the same time, the company is launching a paid “Personal Assistant” tool that scours public Web information (including social networks) for contact information updates and keeps address books updated.

This comes at a time when the address book is increasingly relevant as a core battleground for the center of users’ online social lives, whether on their phones, email or a social network. For instance, Google recently dropped Facebook merging from its phone book on the Android Nexus S. Plaxo has never been too far from the zeitgeist, but it’s always been out the outskirts.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald