Thursday, February 17, 2005

Bebo Address Book

I have just been introduced to an interesting new online idea: Bebo. It is an online address book which, if enough people use it, will automatically update your contact's details when they change!

The idea is that each registered user maintains their own contact details, which they then exchange with their friends. When your own details change, you update your record on Bebo, and everyone you have shared your details with will now see the updated version.

It is a great idea, but (a) requires a large critical mass of users to work, and (b) needs to be synchronized to other digital address books such as OutLook, Address (Mac) or Palm Desktop. The only way for these things to happen is for lots of people to sign up.

There is also one fundamental weakness: it does not appear to allow one to be selective about what information you share with a particular person. I.e. you can choose not to enter your home address, but you cannot choose who to allow to see you home address and who only gets the work details. As an adult and an experienced internet user, I can work around this limitation, but as a parent, it worries me.