New Service Designed to Automatically Update Your Contact Database
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Santa Barbara, California-based Ants.com has announced new enhamcements to its Scout technology that updates contacts stored in selected contact databases. The company bills Scout as "the first fully automated contact management service." A free downloadable demo of Scout is currently available. In the future, new users will pay a one-time download fee of $29.99; however, there will never be a charge imposed on those who acted on the free download opportunity, according to the company.

Initially released in February 2001, only supporting Microsoft Outlook (98 and 2000), the current enhancements add compatability with Microsoft Outlook Express (versions for Windows 98 or higher) and Lotus Notes (R4 and R5). It should be noted however that Scout can only update the contact information for other individuals who have downloaded and installed the Scout software.

After downloading and installing Scout, new users are prompted to enter their contact information. Scout then searches their electronic address book for other registered Scout users and automatically updates the information in all parties' address books, using only contacts' e-mail addresses as the unique identifier.

In addition, Scout asks if invitations should be sent to contacts who are not registered users. Invitees are sent an e-mail asking them to join Scout. Once registered, their contact information is automatically updated and sent to other Scout users who have them listed as a contact.

After the initial installation and set-up, Scout automatically updates subscribers' address books with new information in real time. Previous information is automatically appended into the notes section, ensuring that users can tell when contact information was last updated.

Scout's features include:

  • Auto-fill, auto-update and auto-change of address.
  • Users need only a contact's e-mail address to auto-fill address book fields.
  • Integrates completely into users' contact management software.
  • Lets users keep their address books on their own PCs -- not on a Web site.
  • All updates are made directly within the users' address books--there is no Web site to visit or application to learn.
  • Users control the information they publish.

 

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