Earlier this year I started casually using an online product called Gist. My first impressions led me to put it in to the same category as Plaxo – but my recent experience has broadened my perspective:
Yesterday, I added a friend to my contacts. My friend, “Chris”, works as a building inspector for a nearby city. The GMail account I was using is set up in Gist to receive updates – so a contact record for Chris was created. One of the nagging problems with the Gist import is that it assumes that the domain name of the contact is the employer of the contact. That’s not commonly the case for my friends – I’m using their personal mail account rather than their business account. I went in to Gist and removed Time Warner (Road Runner) as the employer and entered the name of the local city. Today, I realized that Gist had automatically created a company and had figured out the contact information for the city – automagically.
You can see where they are trying to go with the product. The application aggregates mail and calendar events with content from a variety of social media sources. Theoretically, you could use it to plan your day so that you are up to date on a contact’s correspondence across the broad spectrum of outlets available to people today. It’s definitely a beta product – and one which will someday cost money to use – but I can see it carving a a unique position for itself in the marketplace.