As I am starting to get ready (Leaving tomorrow morning) for the US trip to attend IBM’s Collaboration Best Practices, to be held in Somers, I just noticed over at Andy Piper’s weblog that there is a new version of Plazes, although the Plazer seems to be the same still version. If you would remember, I have been talking about it over here in elsua a couple of times already. In fact, I am still using it as you would be able to notice on my weblog template, on the left column. And I am quite enjoying it, specially since it gives me a good chance to let folks know where I am at any given point in time, that is my physical location, or it would also let me know where folks that I normally follow are at that point in time. Quite powerful application specially for providing that online presence indicator for people who may be on the road quite regularly or who get to work from different places over an extended period of time. Thus, of course, I had to check what was new in this latest upgrade.
As Andy mentioned already, one of the features that I really like is the further integration with GoogleMaps, including the map markers of different known Plazes near you. Quite handy to see who has been around that area in the past, or still there. It looks like the profile is a lot easier to locate (Here is mine) and although I may not have had the chance to make use of it extensively (Still discovering some more plazes) I am actually looking forward to complete some of that same profile with the trip to the US since I am sure there would be plenty of chances where I may be online during the course of my stay. Thus, hopefully, I will get a chance to update and add some more Plazes.
Although Andy may not like the new Dashboard too much I actually enjoy it quite a bit. It provides you with quite a nice overview of most of the features available with that lovely integration of GoogleMaps along with some instant access to the information that would matter to you, like who is around near you or at a reasonable distance, where are your contacts are and how you can navigate through the different Plazes you may bump into. Quite engaging, to say the least.
One other nice feature that I really like is the tight integration with Skype, my default IM/VoIP client, through which I am now able to indicate what my online status is thanks to Plazes, so wherever I may go I will have the opportunity to update that instantly and done automatically by the tool itself. Very nice, too ! And, finally, one other nice addition is how you can now pimp your profile adding a whole lot of more new information about yourself so that your contacts may get to know that extra bit about you while you are going all over the place. Making the updates is just relatively easy. It took me a couple of minutes to put all of the information and now my profile is more or less complete and ready to go.
Thus there you go, a new version of Plazes that I will be able to test out as I get to travel to the US and will be at different locations. So we shall see how that goes. Yes, it may still be in beta, as Andy says, but it is surely grabbing more and more momentum by the day and becoming a lot more robust than when it initially got started. So if you haven’t tried it out just yet I would suggest you take it for a spin, as I am certain that you would enjoy the experience, pretty much like most of us.