It’s been tried many times before. A way to keep all of your contact details up-to-date and have any changes automatically pushed to everyone in your address book, instead of having to email them or send an SMS and hope they ‘got the memo’. The problem with any solution that I can think of, however, is that it requires all of your contacts to be signed up to the same service for it to work. That creates a chicken and egg problem — those thorny network effects — where the solution only becomes useful once enough people commit to using it.
However, with 7 million users since launch (up from 5 million last November), perhaps Sync.ME‘s social contact app for iOS and Android has a shot.
Today the company is talking up the official launch of a new feature it’s calling the ME Card, which acts as a single place within the app to edit all of your contact details and decide which changes you want synced with other Sync.ME users you’re connected with. Soft-launched a week ago, Sync.ME says it’s already seen over a million updated ME Cards.
Available via Sync.ME for iOS, Android and a Facebook app, the ME Card is being described as a “universal contact card format” and is the next logical step in Sync.ME’s rather ambitious mission to become a standard for contact syncing across mobile and social platforms.
As we’ve previous reported, to fund that mission the Israeli startup raised a $4 million funding round from undisclosed private investors last November. At the time it was available on iOS only, but launched on Android the following month.
Competing with a host of other iOS address book replacement apps — including Cobook, a bootstrapped startup from Latvia, Addappt, Plaxo, Brewster and Xobni’s Smartr, among others — along with those 7 million users, Sync.ME says it’s currently syncing over a billion contacts every week. The app is particularly popular in Japan, apparently.
The initial draw for users is Sync.ME’s social integration. Similar to many attempts at creating a ‘social address book’, such as those by handset maker HTC with its ‘Sense’ customisation, or the late Palm’s ‘Synergy’, Sync.ME integrates with Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as a phone’s existing contacts, and essentially merges or ‘syncs’ that contact data into a single entry for each contact.
This not only enables those details to be kept up-to-date more easily, but means Sync.ME can do interesting things like display the latest profile picture and status update when a contact is calling (or being called). Again, not an original idea, but one where the company claims its tech is more up to the job where others have failed in their execution.
Specifically, Sync.ME says that its proprietary algorithm can identify and match contacts in spite of potential misspellings and slight text variations between the user’s phonebook and the way it appears on Facebook for example, thus creating less ‘dirty data’ or mismatches, which in my experience can be a common problem with social contact syncing services in general.