Gist for BlackBerry review

With the purchase of Gist by Research In Motion (back in Dec 2010), I would presume the updated Gist client would be integrated tightly and pretty cool.  I was disappointed.

I downloaded the 1.6.12 version client while at BlackBerry DevCon.  After the 2.5 MB package installed, and I approved the trusted status I went to work with the features.

The first step was logging into an existing Gist account or creating a new one.  I recently posted how Gist had removed basically a year of work and data in building my dashboard.  So while I had a login I had no data behind it.

Gist accounts setup

As you can see, I hooked Twitter in right away and hesitated with the others until I saw what it did with synchronizing the contact data.  My point being that I did not want all my contacts being merged into my BlackBerry from all of the above networks.

You are also able to share, send feedback and look at the license agreement lower in Image 1 above.

From there I explored a bit and I am choosing Caleb Elston of Yobongo as my test victim.  It pulled his bio from Twitter (so this screenshot shows nothing outside what is public there anyway) and if I continued to hook to things like Google Apps or even Facebook, it would draw even more information.

Gist profile

The number you see is the order of importance you assign to users for updates and placement in the dashboard.  That takes a lot of tweaking over time when you have hundreds to thousands of contacts and companies in the dashboard on the web.

I did find out that no contacts were brought into my BlackBerry address book and any advanced things I wanted to know about them I had to do inside the Gist application itself.  As you can see, there is another tab to show the contact feed from all the places you hook together about them.  This includes Twitter, blogs, Facebook, corporate news and more.

Gist contact news feed

There was not much else possible in the menus except to be able to email every one of the contacts in your Gist address book.  A scary thought that you may want to send an email that size, and it was unclear what email account sent them as I was scared to even click that option not knowing if there was another prompt behind it.

One other option in the menu is to read your calendar for upcoming meetings and then gather data about the other attendees that it matches to your Gist listing.  I only had one that matched and I got the same information from the images above.  It could be a good way to gather information before your meeting, but you need those people to be synchronized with Gist to get the full effect. It even states in a help screen that the more connected you are to a person across the social networks the richer the profile available.

From there I have closed the application and not really opened it again on the BlackBerry. I did the reverse test where I had a contact locally in my address book and I used the menu item to ‘Get the Gist” on that person.

You can share news and things from inside the application about those.  I am unsure how security works if that person allows you to be their friend on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, does it obey the security and sharing functions of those services? These are a few more things I need to test later.

The app itself had below a 3 star rating in AppWorld which is curious since it did so well before and is actually owned by RIM now, I would think the integration and development behind it would make this a 5 star app.

  • T.A. McCann

    Chris,

    Thanks for the post and continued support.  

    A few clarifying points or answers to your questions;

    - We are actually acquired in February 2011.
    - The first version of Gist for Blackberry came out in May as we did not have one prior to the acquisition.
    - In general, we are looking to provide you a unified view of your contacts with access where and when you need them.  For this reason, we have Gist web, Gist for Outlook, Gmail, iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
    - Not sure what you mean on Gist “removing your data” and happy to look into this via direct follow-up, just email me at tam at gist.com
    - we have focused this release on meetings and calendar iterations, so you would need to have either a Google Calendar or Outlook calendar hooked up to make the most of this.  From there, we bring your upcoming meetings and contacts together, with some actions for the meetings themselves (“confirm” or “i’m running late”) as well as contact specific action like call or BBM.
    - WRT to security – we do follow the same settings of the services themselves for both Facebook and Twitter, so whatever you could do on those sites directly with your contacts, you can now do inside Gist
    - with our integration into the inbox, contacts and calendar we think it is pretty far along, but we are working deeper and deeper integration to the core platform over time.  The idea of “getting the Gist” anywhere and everywhere you need it are definitely where we are heading.

    I am happy to connect and talk through any more of these details for you and your readers.

    Thanks for the continued support.

    T.A. McCann (founder of Gist)