The folks at Plaxo have found the pathway that connects “networked address books” and social networks. It’s the guiding vision behind their strategy for Pulse, their next-generation social network, which “brings your address book to life.”
Interesting to see such concepts picking up steam now across the industry. Articles published today in the Wall Street Journal and the Economist address the notion of address books as potential social networks.
In “Social graph-iti,” the Economist says:
Silicon Valley’s craze for the “social graph”, however, is overdone. The term has been around in computer science for decades, says Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, so it is puzzling that Mr Zuckerberg should get any special credit for using it. “We have address books, and the sum of the address books is the social graph,” he says. Companies such as Plaxo, which help to synchronise address books, and Google itself, which has a primitive address book in its web-mail service, plan to turn these books into fully fledged social graphs that can do useful and productive things, perhaps including new variants of mini-feeds.
In an article entitled, “Will Social Features Make Email Sexy Again?” the Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Delaney and Vauhini Vara write:
The biggest Web email services — including Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Time Warner Inc.’s AOL unit — are adding features that allow users to perform such sociable functions as tracking friends and creating personal-profile pages for others to see. At the same time, social networks like Facebook and News Corp.‘s MySpace have upgraded their messaging services, enabling individuals to send emails to the outside world from their accounts, transmit video greetings to friends and make voice calls from their computers.