web analytics

Gist cuts through the deluge of incoming mail, 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 mail and organises information, appointments and correspondence. Unlike Xobni it pulls together a range of information sources.

That’s smart, mail 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.

Gist simplifies

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 not vital, but most incoming mails are vital. I’d like to tell Gist to give mail more weight than tweets — perhaps I can do this and I just haven’t found out how.
  • There is still a deluge. 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 mail 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.

5 thoughts on “Gist beats Xobni tackling mail, Twitter overload

  1. Nice article…but could it be that xobni and also gist are more gadegts than outlook search tool? Because what should a search tool do? Search and not have connections with facebook or twitter! This distracts you more of work that helping you! Because of that for work I would recomment companies to choose another tool, one really smart, modern and fast one is Lookeen! Perfect for business work!

  2. Hi Bill,

    We just relaunched SenderOK as EmailTray last week. EmailTray sorts your email and does it well. We only have a Facebook feed in the email header pane but, again, we’re just about sorting your email according to a smart algorithm (for instance, if an email arrives from a site you were just browsing, we will know for sure you signed up for something on purpose instead of sending a confirmation email to the spam box).

    When we were named SenderOK, the product was almost as famous as Gist – getting excellent reviews in PC World and ReadWriteWeb – but we haven’t seen the marketing budget of xobni yet.

    We’ll have to become part of someone else’s enterprise software for that to happen.

    I think you’re going to like EmailTray a lot if you try it (www.emailtray.com). It runs outside of Outlook and collects all email from Outlook and all your webmail accounts (all of your AOL and Yahoo and Gmail and Live accounts + anything you have with foreign POP3 or IMAP mail providers.

    You will still go to Outlook to compose emails for the time being. But all of your email reading and, of course, the triage of what emails to read first, will happen in EmailTray.

  3. Correction: EmailTray doesn’t have a “Facebook Feed” so much as we show the Facebook photo of the sender like xobni and Gist do. You would have to click through to see that person’s Facebook page.

    I’ve found that I’ve been able to reduce friend and family email overload by moving them onto Facebook and out of email (fun fact: only 6% of Facebook notifications are ever read as emails).

  4. My tracking software shows that Gist did get 108,000 unique visitors in September where xobni got 79,000. Both of those numbers are impressive but Gist must be doing something right to overtake xobni at least in September.

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