Friday, July 29, 2005

Contacts Contacts

I've been trying out Plaxo the past couple of days. I am an extremely lazy person when it comes to updating my address book and I usually just try to label emails with "Contact Information" if I get an address update. And I have a stack of business cards with a rubber band around them in my desk drawer at home..

Otherwise, my contacts are all over the place, in my email, written on scraps of paper, etc.

I also use Yahoo! Address book,but again, I'm super lazy about updating it.

So I decided to try out Plaxo, since I've heard good buzz about it and I'm not totally happy with Yahoo.

I only used the online version of Plaxo. I know the intent of the application is to have a downloadable toolbar that sort of adds on to Outlook so that you can sync your contacts with Outlook, but I don't really like to mix my work Outlook and my personal address book. Obviously the worlds collide very often, but I would prefer not to put the contact information of my best friend from elementary school into work Outlook.

So I imported my contacts into Plaxo from Yahoo! and the cool thing was that it immediately found about 20+ contacts and updated their information. That's really cool -- for example, some people that I had totally forgotten about had changed jobs or whatever and now I have their latest information!

Unfortunately, I'm not sure if Plaxo is the tool for me. I like to scribble little notes about contacts in my address book. Since I have a bad memory, I'll write down things like how I met the person, what I thought of their service (if say it is a dentist or something)... but Plaxo Online doesn't let you search your notes!

For example, I'd labeled several people "headhunter" or "recruiter" by typing that in notes, but when I searched for "headhunter", nothing came up.

Another feature I wish Plaxo had was the ability to group contacts into categories, similar to what Yahoo can do. That way I can have a group for say "health services", "moving services", etc.

I'm not sure that Plaxo was built with these features in mind, but since I'm looking for the ideal address book/information manager, I guess I'll have to keep looking.

I am now considering switching back to Yahoo, since even though it's cumbersome to manually update contacts, at least I can group contacts and search easily.

How do you manage all your contacts? Is there a quick and painless strategy?