Wired says that Google is rumored to be buying Plaxo for roughly $200 million. The company was founded in 2001 as a tool to manage contacts and users’ email address books (“your address book for life”). Its aggressive customer acquisition strategy (read: spam) alienated many would-be users. Plaxo has been more restrained in the recent past and has tried to reinvent itself as a social network with the launch of Pulse last summer.
If the rumor is true, Google would likely integrate Plaxo functionality into its Docs suite of applications aimed at enterprise users. By contrast, Pulse could be joined with Orkut or become the backbone of a new, expanded Google Profiles. It remains to be seen.
Plaxo still has a largely negative reputation among many people and it would thus be interesting if Google were actually buying the company. On the other hand, it’s a very cheap social network (relatively speaking) and is well integrated with Google’s OpenSocial platform.
ValleyWag claims this purported deal is partly motivated by Google’s desire to keep Joseph Smarr, Plaxo’s chief platform architect, and “his” technology “out of Facebook’s hands.”