Joseph Smarr from Plaxo is next. He’s got an MS in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford so I figure I should be listening carefully. I need some artificial intelligence to digest the mashup data stream.
I just had a nice pre-presentation talk with Joseph who’s really bullish on the future of Plaxo. He explained that integration with AOL messenger is adding a lot more Plaxo users, now totalling over 10 million users. He also had some very interesting observations about AI in search and how early we are in that process. Matt Cutts was noting the same AI challenges at a Webmasterworld chat I had with him last year.
Social networking is a key web concept. Many – nearly all – sites should be using address book info. Viral propagation is critical to success but not a core competency for most companies.
How to get users to fill in their address book info? Plaxo Widget solves this challenge. Here’s the widget code.
Many services maintain their own address books yet users need a one stop solution. That is Plaxo which synchs via plugins to gmail, yahoo, aol, etc.
AOL Instant Messenger uses Plaxo to provide richer contact info for existing buddies and find new ones.
Plaxo handles the tricky parts. Plaxo books are *self-updating*
10+ million members >2 billion contacts 500 million uniques in all address books. Wow.
Heavy backing from Sequoia Venture Capital. About 50 working here in Silicon Valley – the Plaxo offices are right down the street from here. (Of course that can be said for literally hundreds of web companies.
A very impressive presentation, and I always like to see the level of enthusiasm and brilliance from guys like Joseph.
Mark Jen, the former Googler who was banned for what Google felt was inappropriate blogging, now works at Plaxo.