Gist, a free web service that provides a snapshot of information about your email contacts, is publicly launching in beta today. The web service pulls information about email contacts and the companies they work for from around 50,000 news sites and 20 million blogs and is supported by Microsoft Outlook, Gmail and Salesforce. Indeed, when we test-drove Gist, we found that it was no longer necessary to sift endlessly through a flood of real-time information — such as tweets, LinkedIn updates and the like — to find the information for which we were searching.
One of the most potent aspects of Gist is that it stitches together people’s email addresses with their public profiles on social networks. The web service automatically creates a profile for all your email contacts, within which you can view their latest tweets, articles published by or about them and any Google images of them. Gist also adds a link to any LinkedIn or Facebook profiles, as well as public Twitter timelines — though if any of your contacts have a common name, you’ll likely have to add those links yourself. You can filter what type of information is displayed in a profile, too. And Gist snapshots can be accessed in a pinch on any mobile web browser.
The web service also uses an algorithm to determine the “importance” of contacts in your inbox by taking into consideration the number of emails and attachments sent between the two of you and then placing them on a scale of 1-100; contacts with high scores will be featured prominently on your Gist dashboard. And if don’t agree with the score Gist assigned, you can simply reassign them a new one.
Gist said today that it plans to launch an iPhone application in the fourth quarter. The 15-person startup, which is based in Seattle, received $6.75 million in Series A funding in May, led by Foundry Group.