Silentale is a soon-to-launch startup whose goal is to consolidate your conversations and contacts from all the platforms you use including webmail, social networks, and even your mobile phone. Running as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform on top of Amazon Web Services, the oddly named Silentale will function not just as an aggregator, but also a searchable archive of all your web communication. While normally we wouldn't dare blog about a company whose product you couldn't try out yet (that's just mean), we just couldn't resist. It's been a long time since we've seen a startup this promising and we can't wait to give it a shot ourselves.
Besides making a few "startups to watch" lists, there hasn't been much coverage of Silentale in the blogosphere. In fact, we had forgotten the company even existed until an email arrived in our inbox today. In it, the company announced the good news that beta invites would be on the way after the "summer holidays" were over, which hopefully means they're only a month or so away from launching. The email also confessed that it had taken them a bit longer than they originally anticipated to prepare the back-end for the large amount of data they planned on storing. (That could explain our memory lapse, perhaps.)
According to details on the newly revamped Silentale web site, the startup has three main features: the "Timeline," the "People Book," and "Connectors." In the timeline, you're presented with a view of all your messages from around the web and even from your mobile phone. Silentale is able to connect to Facebook, Google Contacts, most POP3/IMAP email accounts (such as those you might access in Outlook), Gmail, AOL Mail, Yahoo! Mail, Twitter, and it can pull in your SMS messages from your mobile phone. All these are presented in the scrollable timeline view with icons indicating their source along with the date, subject, sender, recipient, and of course, the message itself.
The "Connectors" page is where you set up the various connections to the platforms whose messages you want archived. The list of connectors (see above) is short right now, but they promise more will be added in the future. These connectors crawl through your messages and contacts and archive them on the service once you've authorized Silentale to access those accounts. Not only will the service pull in the messages from that point forward, it will also work backwards in time to retrieve older messages too. Attached documents, including Office documents, photos, videos, and links will also be archived. Although at first you won't be able to search within these documents, that functionality will be "introduced shortly," reads the Silentale FAQ.
As for the SMS messages, they'll be archived using special mobile applications. At the moment, the company has developed an iPhone app and an Android app which both use your data connection to archive each text received to the Silentale service. Our only concern with this feature is in regards to those of us who choose to receive either Facebook or Twitter messages via SMS. Since that would be a large number of updates, it would be nice to exclude certain SMS short codes from the archiving process in order to save our precious battery life, which no doubt, the SMS archiving apps would eat up. Besides, since both Facebook and Twitter are available "connectors" on the Silentale service, those particular SMS texts would be redundant.
The People Book
Finally, there is the "People Book" view which is essentially an aggregated address book. Silentale finds the duplicate contacts from across your networks and combines their information together, merging their email, phone numbers, addresses, profiles, etc. into one single contact. This list, like the other views, is searchable, but it can be filtered by network as well to help you find your contacts with ease.
When you click on one of these contacts, all your conversations from across the various supported platforms are displayed. A message timeline at the top of the page lets you hop around from month to month and year to year, too.
Get Your Invite Now!
Of course, since Silentale hasn't launched yet, it's too soon to praise the service. We have no idea how well it will work. For all we know, it could be buggy and slow. But on paper, the service looks useful, promising, and - dare we say it? - exciting. How incredible would it be to have a master copy of all your communication from everywhere in one searchable resource in the cloud? We think it would be great. It's especially exciting since there aren't good ways to archive and search through your communications yet on some of these supported platforms - like Facebook and Twitter, for example.
Still, there may be some concerns about security when it comes to this service. How will Silentale access these networks? Hopefully they'll tap into Twitter via OAuth and into Facebook using Facebook Connect, but will they ask for our email passwords? That always makes people a little uneasy.
During the beta period, Silentale will be free, but when they publicly launch, it will be offered as a "freemium" type service. The basic (free) plan will allow 5 connections, unlimited contacts, but only 8 weeks of message history and a total storage space of 2 GB. The unlimited plan, which looks to be $50/year, will offer unlimited everything.
As we mentioned earlier, Silentale isn't open for business yet, but you can go ahead and sign up for your beta invite right here on the Silentale homepage. Just click the link on the upper-right.