by Michelle Lentz
This news broke while I was out and about earlier this evening. It’s one of the downsides to being in a different time zone from California. Plaxo was acquired by Comcast for an undisclosed price (although rumors have it between $150 -$170 million.)
I have issues with Plaxo. I only recently got around to signing up for it, only to discover that everyone possible in my address book had been hit by a “Join Plaxo” email from me. I suppose that’s why I joined – I was tired of getting those emails myself and decided to check out what was spamming me so often. (It’s probably good I don’t do that with all spam.) I was amazingly irritated when I realized that my 435 contacts had all received an email. In fact, I’m still irritated about it.
Granted, I like that my contacts and calendar are now synch-able, online, and accessible from anywhere. That’s a nifty feature. But I’ve yet to warm to their lifestreaming application, Pulse. There are several other lifestreaming apps out there I prefer (although truly, none of them completely fits the bill just yet). I haven’t counted Pulse out just yet, it’s just not my current favorite either.
According to Plaxo, this deal is going to be great for Comcast and Plaxo consumers:
Joining forces with Comcast is a real win for our customers, our investors, and our employees. Comcast has an exciting vision to bring the social media experience to mainstream consumers. Together, we will be able to help users connect with all the people they care about, across all of the devices they use, with all the media they love to consume, create, and share. This is also great news for the Internet industry at large, where Plaxo has been – and will continue to be – a strong advocate for opening up the Social Web.
Together, we intend to deliver on a vision of making “social media” a natural part of the lives of regular people, not just early-adopters. For example, you should be able to securely post family photos online in Pulse, and have them viewable by any of your family members, whether they are online, at work, on their mobile device, or
in their living room watching TV. And you should be able to discover new shows to watch, based on what your friends and coworkers have recommended.
So, what about current Plaxo members? The services you know and enjoy from Plaxo will not only continue, but will continue to evolve and improve. In addition, both of our services benefit from “network effect,” which is to say that the more people who use them, the more useful they become.
Plaxo currently provides the universal address book for Comcast’s SmartZone communications center (which hasn’t yet launched). Plaxo also hosts all of the address book contacts for Comcast webmail.
It will be interesting to see if this agreement affects Plaxo’s involvement in data portability initiatives or if the influx of money really does work to improve Plaxo.
If you have any tech news, apps, or gadgets you’d like to know more about, send them my way at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net or via Twitter.