As we all can acknowledge, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are the big 3 when it comes to webmail services; followed closely by AOL. These are the companies that we, as individuals, have come to trust with our contacts and their personal information. Now, take a good, hard look at that address book.
Can you remember when Instant Messaging Screen names weren’t there? Yes, there was a time that you couldn’t add a contact’s AIM/Yahoo/MSN/Skype/Google Talk/etc...
One would think in today's social networking society, that address books would grow with the times and start to offer the ability to add profile URLs for the various networks without being treated as actual web pages. Just imagine what your online life would be like if you could just go to your address book and see an icon for a site under a contact’s entry. Then, if you wanted to see their profile, you could just click on it and it would take you to that site’s profile.
While working to move my address book into soocial.com, I found that exact thing happening. Whenever I entered a Twitter nickname or a LinkedIn profile URL, it would automatically create an icon for that network and shorten the URL to just the profile name. Regretfully, I have only seen it happen with Twitter and LinkedIn. The same thing does not happen with URL profiles for sites like YouTube, last.fm, or even Facebook.
So, I started wondering if there was any other resource out there that would track all my contact’s social networking profiles and came across dandyid.org. Imagine my surprise when I saw the amount of social networks that are actually out there. It's no wonder that they don't offer it because there are just so many out there.
I originally started writing this post with the mindset that Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL should take note of this feature and let us add social networking profile URLs in our address books so we would not have to rely on third-party services to keep track of such information. But now, I don’t really know where I stand.
Should address books start adding separate sections for social networking profile URLs? If so, how would they decide which ones are and are not listed?