Monday, August 06, 2007

Closed is NOT the new Open

Seth Goldstein is a man who's views on Web 2.0 I tend to value. His blog recently proclaimed that "closed is the new open." In essence, that closed networks, like Facebook and MySpace, done right, are better than the random collection of open network tools, like Flickr and Twitter. Apologies to Seth, but I most vociferously have to disagree. Case in point: today's launch of Plaxo's Pulse network.

I'm a big fan of Plaxo, as it solves one of the most frustrating problems of people like myself with large contact lists: it creates the ability for someone to update their information in one place, and Plaxo subscribers immediately have their address books updated with the new information. Although my 7000+ contacts seem to frequently cause performance issues with it, I have stuck with them, and even upgraded to some of their premium services. For instance, the ability to immediately be reminded of an upcoming birthday, and send an e-card, personalized. Fantastic stuff for someone who never has enough time to be as thoughtful as I aspire to be.

Plaxo has gone one step further. They have created their own social network, Pulse, so you can get updated whenever your Pulse friends update anything. And I mean, anything. Want to get notified when a friend adds to their Amazon wishlist? Got it covered. Read the latest post from their blog? Gotcha. Post some pictures to Picasa or Flickr? Check. See what they are digging on Digg? Yup. I mean, this is what's been needed: a single network, to pull together the content from these purpose driven sites, and syndicate them. I want to know when Charles adds a new DVD to his wishlist. I want to see some new pictures from a faraway family member or friend. I love the push of a blog entry. Man, this is what it's all about: push me the content I want, for the people I want, saving me from 100 different "pulls". Timesaving, elegant, and superb. I would GLADLY pay for this service, and will, as soon as their tech support people figure out how I can use Plaxo Premium without destroying the performance of my already bloated Outlook account.

I mean, check out the range of services they pull in. Add in Facebook and LinkedIn, and sayonara any other service. Open is flexible, extensible, and always with the times. My NetVibes page does the same with my homepage (so does Pageflakes, and even the new MyYahoo), so this is just a natural extension. With this architecture, Plaxo can add new feeds for the new properties. So, yesterday's MySpace fades away, and gives rise to Facebook. Google Video gives it up for YouTube. Who knows what comes next? One thing's for sure: Plaxo will be the source to find it.

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