Plaxo plans to release a social network “aggregator” on Monday. Its key features look likely to be an independence from platforms like Facebook, the ability to add information about the social networks your contacts use, feed aggregation and control over your owen data.
Plaxo hopes its independence from closed networks like Facebook will give it a competitive edge, although all the evidence is to the contrary right now. While many commentarors have been saying that users owning their own data would be an idea which triumphed in the end, so far the fastest growing network – Facebook – has disproved that theory by making the process of social networking very user-friendly by locking users into a closed environment. Not unlike the way Apple locks people into hardware by focusing on the user experience.
In the past Plaxo had a reputation for eating into a PC and spamming all your contacts with Plaxo invites. As a result it was usually used by small businessmen with zero idea about tech. It’s unlikely to get much traction amongst the hip-young things on Facebook.