Monday, February 19, 2007

The Gmail Hub to the Plaxo Hub

Why do we sync? Why do we need one set of organized contacts in multiple locations? In a world that is getting increasingly digital, the duplication of the same information means we spend more time searching for what we need to collaborate or complete a task rather than focusing on that task or contact.

When all our communication devices, address books, organizers, schedulers, planners are aware of each other by using the power of the network, we focus our energy on the task, not searching for the most recent contact information.

Each contact entry represents a person or organization that we have familiarity with. I may only need my auto mechanic or Doctor once a year, but I'd like to be able to contact him with his most up to date information from the most convenient source possible.

I look for hubs in this wheel of connectivity. Gmail is a hub. Plaxo is a hub. So are Yahoo! and MSN. The reason I choose Gmail and Plaxo is:

  1. the options they provide,
  2. and absence of overt advertising.
Gmail and Google advertise, but it is relevant to what I'm doing and therefore acceptable.

Lower down the list for me is interface and design. I still place high expectations on design but for me it is mere eye candy and I'd rather have speed over graphics. When an application has everything; speed, connectivity, intuitive interface, and expandable capabilities, you get Mozilla Firefox, iPods, Google Maps, Plaxo, iPhone or Scrybe. When it doesn't, you get most every other POS out there designed by committee, crippled by accountants & lawyers, and polluted with ads.


I mostly agree with your take. However, I would point out that simple UI and well designed UI are two sometimes very different things and are not mutually exclusive. An user interface can be both simple and poorly designed or vice versa. By the way, I'm really grateful for the awesome script you've created to combine two of my favorite services. Keep up the good work.

Well thought out and great point about UI. I'm glad to hear you are using the script. I often wonder if many folks are downloading it, as I don't do analytics on my site.

I installed the greasemonkey addOn, and plaxo4gmail script, and when I used it, I got a "Lockdown in Sector 4" message:

Our system indicates unusual usage of your account. In order to protect Gmail users from potentially harmful use of Gmail, this account has been disabled for up to 24 hours.

If you are using any third party software that interacts with your Gmail account, please disable it or adjust it so that its use complies with the Gmail Terms of Use. If you feel that you have been using your Gmail account according to the Terms of Use or otherwise normally, please contact us using this form to report this problem.

Have you any experience with that?

Yes, when you add too many contacts at once you could get "Lockdown in Sector 4" warning from Gmail. Use the Google help files to report the issue. Email them and explain to them you are using a script and they will restore the account or wait 24 hours.

To take precautions against this happening, always IMPORT your Plaxo contacts first, then try your first sync. If you have hundreds of contacts that are being added (exist in Plaxo, but not in Gmail) when the Plaxo4Gmail script adds them, it could interpreted by Gmail as an attack. Importing them lets the script simply update and link them to Plaxo rather than go through creating new Gmail Entries.