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Online address book provider Plaxo has introduced a major overhaul in an effort to catch up with networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

Plaxo has released Plaxo 3.0, an online address book and calendar that synchronises services from Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, AOL, Mac OSX, and Thunderbird.

"This is much more than just another product release; we're really introducing an all-new Plaxo to the world, expanding our addressable market," said Todd Masonis, founder of Plaxo. "Plaxo 3.0 is the platform upon which we can build out our sync and share vision, giving people access to all their data wherever they need it, and enabling ever richer ways to stay connected with the people who matter in their lives."

The Wall St Journal reports that the new service could help the so-far unprofitable Mountain View, California company become more attractive for a potential takeover. Plaxo is backed by Silicon Valley investors such as Sequoia Capital and Ram Shriram, an early backer of Google. The paper reports that companies such as Yahoo and Time Warner's America Online discussed acquiring Plaxo in the past, but no deal was finalised.

News of Plaxo's efforts to catch up with other internet networking sites comes shortly after a study revealed that around half of all social network users are members of more than one network.

On Friday ENN reported on a survey by Parks Associates, which found that 40 per cent of MySpace users and 50 per cent of all social networkers actively maintain multiple profiles on sites such as Bebo, Facebook and Friendster.

The report found that nearly half of all social networkers regularly use more than one site, while one in six use three or more.

While Plaxo will aim to tackle more professionally-minded networks such as LinkedIn, the firm can take heart from the apparent interest amongst users to maintain multiple accounts on internet networks.

The Plaxo 3.0 product is free in its basic form while a premium service with added features is available for $49.95.

© 2007 ENN

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