available as a Google Gadget, plugging its contact-enhancing knowledge base into the Gmail inbox.Gist now is
The company has integration with Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, as well as increasing support for GMail. We asked the company CEO, T.A. McCann, what it was like working with Google in the apps marketplace and what it takes to bring the social Web into the daily flow of the enterprise consumer.
People Are Agile, Too
Using a cloud services architecture, Gist acts as a productivity layer inside of an inbox to bring up-to-dateness to information about a person's contacts.
From what we see, this enhanced offering shines in places like sales or marketing where keeping up with a number of outside contacts is valuable to the process of building bonds and being agile as a decision maker.
Agile is Uncertainty - That is a Good Thing
In the announcement, the company mentions collaboration with the Google team. We took the opportunity to ask McCann about the experience participating as a first-mover in the Google Apps Marketplace.
The first thing we heard was "agile" mixed with a tone of respect - lots of iterations, working hard until the end to get it right. This style of development implies lots of changes until the moment of launch, as well as rigor on the end-experience.
Overall, our dialog with McMann further impressed us on how much Google is doing to reset the terms of enterprise software.
The company - seemingly overnight (although it has been years) - is becoming an enterprise company. The opportunity it's creating by being available to administrators in this context is a new paradigm worth betting on.
What's The Gist?
Gist aggregates information from the streams of the Web (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, news, and more) and connects those streams with an individual user. With Gist enabled, the user is promised an ability to get a quick snapshot of the information surrounding a contact without having to leave the inbox, in essence getting "the gist" of what is up with a contact in a quick, up-to-date snapshot.
McCann suggested we imagine it as taking the best of Google (e.g. search, real time, maps, Blogger) and re-factoring those streams to be easily viewable in the context of an email account. The company has optimized its learning algorithms on higher-level information - in other words finding the nuggets of information that are more than just a Twitter API call away - to bring unique value to the inbox experience.
GMail itself has already evolved the email experience; with Gist enabled the experience of the inbox goes further into being the command center for business communications without needing to move to the Web to find more information.
Here we see Gist toolbar (unopened) and how it tags the email to bring relevant streams related to the sender to the receiver.
To further illustrate how it works, here is a demonstration.
The major change agents of social Web and cloud computing once again knock on the enterprises door through email.
More context, less clicks. Is Gist on your company's Google Apps list?