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Summary:

This week, Google finally answered our pleas and introduced over-the-air contact and calendar sync for Windows Mobile and iPhone. Instead of a separate sync application, as with the Blackberry, the syncing works through the Exchange client already in the device. I’ve decided to only sync my […]

This week, Google finally answered our pleas and introduced over-the-air contact and calendar sync for Windows Mobile and iPhone. Instead of a separate sync application, as with the Blackberry, the syncing works through the Exchange client already in the device.

I’ve decided to only sync my calendar between Google and my iPhone, which after one false start now works well. I didn’t bother syncing contacts. Why? Because nowadays when I need to find someone, the last place I seem to look is in my usually-outdated contacts application.

Sure, I have some contacts in my desktop address book which I sync back to Google with Spanning Sync. Mostly immediate family, doctors, school contacts, etc. Those few people I really need to call when out and about. Every work contact is in our organization’s CRM and is accessible through the Salesforce iPhone app. The rest of my life is either in Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn where the contacts themselves make sure their own data is up-to-date. All are easily accessible from my iPhone.

When I leaf through my desktop address book there are so many out-of-date entries, I often wonder why I bothered putting them there to begin with. I know there’s Plaxo for keeping an address book updated, but that utility comes with its own set of problems.

Let’s hear how other web workers handle their contacts.

Has your local address book been shoved aside in favor of web-based tools? Do you worry about the accuracy of contact data on your phone or desktop? How do you keep it all up-to-date and in sync?

By Judi Sohn

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  1. Judi,

    My thoughts on this are a little different. My contact list is my life (and I am not in Sales). It’s important to have a rich client solution to manage my contacts. I then sync via MobileMe (rather than Google). I use Daylite from Marketcircle (www.marketcircle.com) as my super PIM.

    Hope this helps.

    Matthew

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  2. Right now, I have most of my contacts in gMail, then use that as a centralized db for distribution to my different networks; LinkedIn, FaceBook, etc.

    What would be great is to have an online app that keeps your contacts in one location, then automatically updates other services on a regular basis.

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  3. I think surely Plaxo has always pitched an answer to most people’s problems here…

    The power of social networks is used to be fully realised. When you consider that socnets have people using them daily that are quite happy to maintain their contact details, to be able to sync this back to your main mail client and/or your mobile phone would be the answer to most people’s prayers.

    We introduce a contact download feature to help get us there in the next two weeks.

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ
    http://www.wecando.biz

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  4. Stuart McLaughlin Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    Re: “Plaxo … but that utility comes with its own set of problems.”

    Just wondering what the “own set of problems” you’re referring to are?

    I’ve tried various contact and calendar sync setups over the years, but Plaxo is the first single solution which seems to work seamlessly. I’m currently using it between my windows mobile and outlook work, and haven’t had any problems so far.

    The ability to sync with gmail would be a bit bonus though, so I’ll definitely be investigating the google mobile sync.

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  5. @Stuart, Plaxo has a long history of dancing on the line between privacy and spam. Just when they seem to find religion and reverse practices that have users upset, they pull something else. They are now owned by Comcast and seem more focused on their social network than their address book sync utilities.

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  6. Stuart McLaughlin Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    @Judi – Thanks for clarifying. I had heard about the spamming concerns, but most of the articles I’d read were pretty old. Based on my own experience, it’s all been positive so far, however I’m only using it because there is nothing else which solved the sync issues I had, so if gsync is any good then there’s a good chance I’ll switch to that.

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  7. I tried Plaxo and bailed when they started to focus on Pulse. I’ve had high hopes for Soocial and the others but none has been what I need.

    I finally chose a web based CRM that works for me and rely on it to be available and current even if I have to maintain it.

    At this point I don’t sync it to my phone because it is so easy to just pull up the mobile version of the web site, but for caller ID purposes it would be nice if it tied together.

    SB

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