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Plaxo Opens Its API

Developers of all stripes can now leverage the infrastructure of Plaxo to add synchronized address book contacts to their sites and applications.

As with most Web 2.0 approaches, Plaxo now has an open API.

The new tools are intended to extend the footprint of Plaxo's connected synchronized contact model. Plaxo is a service that enables synchronization of contacts and can be plugged into e-mail clients, such as Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird.

It is also part of AOL' s new instant messaging client Triton.

Open APIs have worked well in the past year as developer and application building tools for a number of major companies, including eBay and Google. It is a trend that Plaxo wants to capitalize on.

There are actually three levels of access that Plaxo is now providing based on user needs, all of which are free for non-commercial use.

Rikk Carey, executive vice president of engineering and operations, said, for example, the JavaScript Address Book Access Widget is for entry level users.

The widget is much easier for a wider array of users to use; it only involves a small code snippet to be inserted on a user's site.

The widget is a one-way application allowing users to access their contact data, but not to edit or change it.

In terms of a full, more traditional API, Plaxo has one that will work as a read-only API, as well as another that will provide full two-way capabilities.

Carey noted that the Plaxo API uses the Representational State Transfer (REST) Web Services binding to facilitate the synchronization.

Privacy and security are obviously two key considerations when dealing with user-identifiable information. Carey noted that the APIs and the widgets have the same protections as the rest of the Plaxo infrastructure.

Carey claimed that Plaxo is well prepared to deal with the additional demands on its infrastructure that an Open API may require.

Last year Plaxo struck a deal with AOL to integrate Plaxo with AOL's new IM client Triton.

In recent interview with internetnews.com, Plaxo CEO Ben Golub noted that the partnership has yielded a "three figure percentage increase."

In order to be able to handle the influx of new users from AOL, Carrey explained that Plaxo increased its overall capacity to the point that it now has "over capacity."

Part of that capacity has come from a large SAN solution from Pillar Data Systems.