Personal Online Organizer Access
Individuals have access to a variety of free and for-a-fee online organizer services. Even when fees are involved, they seldom exceed $20 a month (and are usually less). For small companies, virtual companies, consultants, and so forth, these kinds of services provide an elegant solution to the need to access a contact database from multiple devices and locations. Most of these tools will work reasonably well on Web-enabled PDAs or cell phones, in addition to Internet-connected handheld, laptop, or desktop PCs. Some are even sophisticated enough to offer voice-based services to access e-mail, address, and phone books to users who dial in through specific access numbers. Yahoo! by Phone (http://phone.yahoo.com) is an excellent case in point.
Although there are numerous players in this part of the online organizer market (and look for long-time PIM vendors to start pushing into this market segment soon as well), several are worthy of particular note, either because their offerings are free or particularly well thought-out:
NetCentric Phone Book has a free global phone and contact information diary service (http://www.isfactory.com/phone) that is worth trying out, if only because the price is so right.
My Phone Book has a free personal online organizer that is also available in a shared group form for corporate license (http://www.myphonebook.com/login.asp).
MoneyKey offers numerous ways to access its "virtual appliance" technology that uses lots of buttons and intensely visual layouts to provide specific, targeted services to users that include address and phone book management capabilities. It's a multi-level marketing scheme, a cash generation tool, or a useful set of licensable software. You decide! (http://moneykey.com).
Microsoft plans to offer a .NET-based phone book, address book, and contact information service to its customers, but this service won't be available until .NET Server is released later in 2002. Stay tuned to the Microsoft Web pages for more information on this upcoming initiative (current information indicates that these new capabilities will probably show up as part of the .NET Passport program).