Gist, launching as a free beta, acts as a social network aggregator of sorts, pulling profile information on people and companies from social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as from more than 20 million blogs and more than 50,000 news sources. Gist analyzes the contacts, then ranks and prioritizes their importance based on the frequency of messaging interaction with the Gist user. A Gist app for the iPhone is coming in October.
Corporate knowledge workers may find themselves overwhelmed by the many
networks they have joined, and some startups are looking to alleviate these
information overload pains with software tools that help users manage their
launched as a beta Sept.
15 with a new twist on e-mail management. While applications such as Xobni help
users search for e-mail in their Outlook inboxes, Gist is a free Web service
that lets users better manage their personal and professional contacts in
Gist is a kind of social network profile aggregator, pulling profile
information on people and companies from networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn
and Twitter, as well as from more than 20 million blogs and more than 50,000
news sources. Rather than making users jump from Outlook to Twitter, then
Facebook, then LinkedIn and back to Outlook to find contacts, Gist aggregates
the network information in the user's e-mail home base.
But it's not just a simple aggregator. Like Xobni,
Gist analyzes the contacts, then ranks and prioritizes
the importance of contacts based on the frequency and timing of messaging
interaction with the Gist user.
To see screencaps of
Gist, click here.
"Those who I e-mail most frequently with are deemed more important than
those who I do not, with the goal being to aggregate large sums and pieces of
content and serve that up to the user in an automated way," Gist Vice
President of Marketing Robert Pease told eWEEK.
User profiles are updated on the fly as new information becomes available
from the social networks, blogs and other news sources.
For example, Gist will scour its users' Outlook or Google Calendar
applications (or both) to find the most timely meetings. Contacts with whom the
Gist user has scheduled a meeting that day will get a higher priority than
contacts with whom the user has scheduled a meeting for the following day, Gist
founder and CEO T.A. McCann told eWEEK.
Gist hits a social network management sweet spot. Over the long haul, this
could save users a heap of time and stress, and it will certainly free up
computing resources so that users don't have to bring up multiple browsers to
access all of their networks.
Gist isn't launching willy-nilly; it's been battle-tested, with 10,000
business users trying it out in a limited release. One might almost call
today's beta test a Beta 2.0.
McCann told eWEEK Gist plans to embrace the "fremium" model and
charge on a monthly basis for premium Gist services in the future. However,
what those will be is unclear at this time. One thing is certain: There won't
be any advertising in Gist, McCann said.
McCann said he is focused on the crowd that uses CRM
applications like Salesforce.com and who access work data from Apple iPhones or
RIM BlackBerry smartphones on the road. As a result, Gist is also accessible
from mobile smartphones, and the company plans to launch an iPhone application
in October (approval process pending).
Read more about Gist on Techmeme here,
though ReadWriteWeb offers
the most useful run-through of the service.