Tag Archives: Gist

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.

So RIM buys Gist and Gist deletes my account?

After years of using the cloud contact management dashboard service Gist, I found my account and all data gone.  After using the service of Gist since early beta, updating accounts, contacts and building an actual contact dashboard, today I find not even an active account.  Poof.  Here is the scenario:

  • Aug 24, 2009 I get invited to a new service and screencast it.  One of the highest viewed screencasts I have.
  • Oct 14, 2009 I write about possible competitors in my blog archives
  • Somewhere in 2010 I think I activate the Gist plug-in for Google Apps and mail.  Yes Rapportive comes along and beta it in function and look, but I leave both in place.
  • Dec 2010 I write about RIM moving to buy Gist
  • Mar 23, 2011 I screencast and compare Plaxo to Gist and say that Plaxo didn’t beat them in contact management.
  • May 30 2011 I mention on my blog that Gist is ceasing support in Google Apps after the RIM purchase
  • Somewhere in June I got an email saying I hadn’t logged on to Gist.  Well I was using the Google plug-in and didn’t need to hit the dashboard.  That email didn’t make it to the Priority Inbox for TheSocialNetworker.
  • I log in today to merge another contact list and the account is gone.

So what does this mean?  RIM is purging old users from the system in preparation of something new inside the BlackBerry devices? Gist is scaling back after the purchase and is cleansing some data?  Somewhere along the way they had a Terms of Service you must log into your cloud data every couple months via the site to keep it active?

I do not know the answer to any of these but I am debating importing data into the service again at this point.

Gist decides to cease Google Apps support on Jun 1

Gist, now a product of Research In Motion, has announced that beginning June 1 it will pull domain wide Google Apps Marketplace support for their Google Gadget.  They will still support single user installations with Gmail it seems according to the first part of this notice:

We’re writing to let you know that we will discontinue Gist for Google Apps on June 1, 2011. We’re sorry to inconvenience you in this way, but want you to know that you can still use Gist via our web app or through one of our other plugins (http://gist.com/corp/plug-ins) In fact, you can continue to use Gist with Gmail (http://gist.com/gmail).

What this means is that individual users may still install Gist to their single Gmail account, and it seems into Google Apps domains, if allowed.  I was an avid user of Gist inside of my Gmail and Google Apps accounts, until I came across Rapportive (another post is needed there).  The reason given in the email is better and continued support for Gist users.

I think much of this has to do with the purchase of Gist by Research In Motion (RIM/BlackBerry) back in December 2010.  RIM needs to strategically place and utilize the talent they bought with Gist.  I first liked the product when it was only web based and I did a screencast of the functionality and improvement it made to my contact management back in TheSocialNetworker Episode 6.

So where does this leave administrators of Google Apps domains that have deployed this?  You must follow this technote they issued to uninstall it from everyone and then allow individual users to reinstall.

As a business decision, I personally would not have chosen to remove this capability.  I think selling this limited usage into business from the Google Apps Marketplace makes perfect sense in moving them into a paid CRM solution.

BlackBerry/RIM has been on an interesting buying spree recently with Gist and Tungle, with either yet to make a true integrated appearance in any form.

If Research In Motion wants to capitalize on their recent Playbook launch, this would be the time to see native apps for both Tungle and Gist to appear on the devices and make a true business tablet platform.

RIM moves to buy Gist – thoughts

Om Malik, of GigaOm, seems to have caught the story first about Research in Motion (RIM or Blackberry to you) in talks to scoop up Gist.  I have covered Gist multiple times in screencasts and podcasts, all linked below.

I think RIM could only benefit from this purchase by not merging the social profile capability, from the 10 million reported profiles in Gist, with their own mobile contacts.  I can see Gist as an add-on application that integrates and offers advanced features, but not embedded into the contacts themselves.  Enterprises are wary enough about such companies as Gist pulling content from user’s address books, such as their Lotus Notes integration, as well as bringing social context in.

I have been a Gist user for some time via the web, Google Apps mail and in the past year Lotus Notes integration.  Do I see daily value and find myself scouring the Gist profile there? No.  Have I integrated Gist with my Google Apps accounts and find value there?  Sometimes.

I admittedly run both Gist and Rapportive side-by-side in my Google Apps.  Both have their strengths and integration positives.  Both read the sender and try to match social profiles.  Gist requires quite a bit of manual effort to merge and manage.  Rapportive just shows up but misses some meta data Gist offers.  You have to strive to want to use them on a daily basis with the amount of social data available from anyone that might email you.

RIM device users would be overwhelmed by this quantity of social data entering their handheld lives.  While the Blackberry is the glue that hold the communication and scheduling for millions, it is as simple as that.  Advanced users may load instant messaging programs, separate from the contacts list.  Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) users must have a special profile enabled for social integration to work at all.

For RIM, the idea behind acquiring Gist would be to possibly re-invent the phone address book and make it integral to its core offering. It would actually make a lot of sense for RIM to do this, as it plays to its core strength – namely, messaging. By making the address book more networked and more social, RIM can build a social inbox, much like the one being championed by Facebook.

Om makes a strong statement here, and I normally agree.  Not this time.  I see the purchase as an impossible social inbox.  The massive amount of content with no real filtering would be hurtful to the mobile user in a single, unified, social inbox.  Listing Gist as an additional tool, found through AppWorld would make perfect sense and possibly grow the usage of the devices for those socially connected.

The lack of good applications in AppWorld is an entirely different article.

Previous postings on RIM and Gist of interest: