Gist cuts through the deluge of incoming email, tweets and other messages.
It sorts, highlights and presents important material in a simple format.
After one day of using the application I its potential. Gist may become a lynch-pin. But I’m not convinced I’ll use it long-term. Here’s why:
Gist works with Gmail, Google Calendar, Outlook, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Salesforce. The software is a free web-delivered or cloud application. There’s a paid subscription version in the pipeline.
Gist smart than Xobni
Like Xobni, Gist digs through emails and organises information, appointments and correspondence. Unlike Xobni it pulls together a range of information sources.
That’s smart, email is only one of a number of channels people deal with.
Gist displays data on a dashboard where you can quickly see what the software decides are your most important messages. You can also view the information by contact name.
Gist analyses your contacts then ranks them based on the number of communications with each person. The idea is to help you automatically filter out noise and focus on the most significant material.
In practice, it works, but only up to a point.
Here’s what it does well:
- Gist does a great job of pulling together incoming material from different sources. I’m testing it with Gmail, Twitter and LinkedIn. Between the three I may have hundreds of incoming messages each day – these are mainly tweets. Putting them all in one place is helpful.
- My contacts have been automatically ordered in a league table, with the most important at the top. The list is good, but not perfect. The people I work with are on the first page, but there are people on the page who I don’t know well.
And I’m not impressed to see Gist’s TA McCann as my most important contact.
- I don’t use Salesforce and I haven’t yet tried Gist with Outlook so I feel a fraud for including this under the what Gist does well heading, but the software appears to integrate smoothly with these applications – which will certainly make it a powerful option for those people using either product.
Here’s what’s not so great:
- While Gist is good at finding your important contacts, it can’t decide which material from those contacts is important. In my industry there’s a lot of chatter on Twitter and the occasional gem. Material from LinkedIn contacts is important but not vital, but most incoming emails are vital. I’d like to tell Gist to give email more weight than tweets – perhaps I can do this and I just haven’t found out how.
- I still feel deluged. It is easier to get at some of the important material. I could use Gist instead of Tweetdeck. Gist is a better way of checking LinkedIn updates than the RSS feed I use. But Gist is not going to replace my email inbox soon.
Better than Xobni
Gist is better than Xobni. The last time I looked Xobni only worked with Outlook, although it can pull information from Facebook and LinkedIn. Gist adds Gmail and Twitter putting it way out in front.
Xobni integrates with Outlook, but the composite screen is cramped on my desktop display and hard to view on my laptop. Gist on the other hand is browser-based (although there are integrated versions) and is easier to read.
Lastly, I found Xobni was slow to use and I suspected it slowed down Outlook – although I couldn’t quantify this.