Today is a big day for us at Plaxo, as our partnership with Comcast was just announced. Plaxo will be part of Comcast’s Smartzone™, which aims to provide Comcast Triple Play customers with one central location to send and receive email and instant messages, check voicemail online, etc.

(The beta/soft launch for our work together started a few weeks back. If you’re currently a Comcast Broadband Customer and a Plaxo Member, you can sign up now by clicking here. )

We’re obviously thrilled to be working with Comcast, which is the nation’s leading MSO, with over 24.2 million cable customers, 12.1 million high-speed Internet customers, and 3.0 million voice customers. This should have significant implication’s for Plaxo’s growth curve.

We’re also thrilled, because our partnership is great example of the power of a smart, networked address book. Todd and Cam started Plaxo to help people access their contacts (as well as calendars, notes, tasks, etc.) from a wide variety of different sources and tools. (E.g. Outlook, Yahoo!, Google, AIM, mobile phones, etc.) Along the way, we’ve discovered that the networked address book is also an incredibly important piece of foundation on which to build innovative consumer services. By being part of the SmartZone unified communications center, for example, we can make it easier for people to communicate with friends, families, and customers, whether they are at home using the fantastic array of Comcast communications services (such as e-mail, digital voice, video IM,etc.), or at work using Outlook, on the road, at an internet café, on their mobile, etc. What Comcast is doing in integrating a smart address book into all their services will make their services more interesting and valuable to users, and will serve as a model for many other service providers in making so called “triple-play” services truly integrated.

At its heart, the address book is really the list of the people that you know, care about, and interact with. The calendar is the representation of what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and what you plan to do. Done right, the smart, networked address book and calendar should be able to form the foundation for vastly improved communications, content, and community functions.

Smart Address BookAt Plaxo, we’ve spent a lot of time doing the un-sexy work necessary to make address books and calendars worthy of being that foundation (e.g. putting them in the network, making them sync everywhere, making them fuller and more accurate, building out APIs, working on security, performance, and availability, etc.) Now, after several years, it is really gratifying to see forward-thinking companies like Comcast start to build exciting solutions leveraging the smart, networked address book.

We’ve announced a few similar partnerships in the past, including AOL and Openwave, and we are starting to work with a wide variety of other service providers, social networks, device manufacturer, etc. I think the industry is waking up to the power of smart, networked address books. The next few years should be fun!

Ben Golub

P.S. Here’s thoughtful commentary on the announcement by Om Malik.