White Pages’ Hiya Wants to Eat Plaxo’s Lunch by Blending Your Scattered E-Phone Books with Old-School Contact Info
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stored in iPhones and Google accounts, such as Gmail contacts. There are plans to integrate more sources into the system, particularly web-based e-mail and desktop e-mail, such as Microsoft’s Outlook.
Popular social networks Facebook and LinkedIn are a tougher nut to crack, Bishop said, because outside developers can’t really tap into the “rich information” like addresses or phone numbers. Bishop thinks it’s possible Facebook may loosen restrictions on that kind of data over time, but that sounds to me like the perfect recipe for another mass Facebook user freak-out over information sharing.
So how does this make money? It doesn’t, for now.
“The cool thing is that if we were a startup, we would have a lot of pressure to answer that question now,” Bishop said. “But we’re not. We’re part of a very healthy private company that is investing a lot in making sure that we’re staying relevant.”
Future plans to make Hiya an actual business might look something like the existing WhitePages app, which started out free and then brought along some advertising and premium-level services, she said. WhitePages also runs DealPop, one of the many online coupon services.
“We don’t have any plans to charge for this service at all, certainly this year,” Bishop said. “We really want to make sure we nail the product.”