And by universal address book we mean one software tool that allows us to automatically synchronize all our addresses from wherever they may reside - into one master, searchable, structured, segmented system that we can update from anywhere - work, Web, phone, home, TV, plane, train, you name it.
Google is apparently working on something - so of course is Microsoft and presumably Yahoo. (Though no one seems to know what's really going on at Yahoo). But it may be that the big Web guys interests are woah too entrenched in their insular universe of users and platforms to allow them to become the trusted, independent universal provider. That would also be the case for mobile phone operators, hardware providers and games console dudes.
Which leaves us with a couple of independent Web 2.0 address book synchronizers including Mobyko. They look interesting at first glance but may lack scale or a trusted brand. So maybe I should return to where I began and have a whisper with my ancestors about sorting it out!