A review of Gist, Rapportive, and Etacts
Everybody wants their email to be better. I recently tested a variety of email plugins that focus on bringing social data into gmail. The short answer is: Use Etacts. Here is what I saw:
Three companies are the market leaders in the space:
Rapportive has raised $1m from an impressive group of angels: Dharmesh Shah, Jason Calcanis, Paul Buchheit, Dave McClure, David Cancel, CRV, etc..
Etacts has raised $650k from Y Combinator and Ron Conway.
Gist has raised $10m+ from Foundry and Vulcan Capital.
Interestingly, I think this explains why Gist has seemingly much better marketing, but it fails to explain why Gist’s product seemed not as good.
Disclaimer: I was looking for a specific kind of added value. It could be that these products do other things that I just fail to appreciate. Most specifically: I am not interested in spending any time on other web sites, I just want my gmail to be better. Caveat emptor.
Anyway, here was the Gist UI in my gmail inbox.
I was looking at an email thread with my lawyer, so it shows his latest tweet and my latest tweet. Links to our facebook and twitter.
It also put the whole thing in an iframe out to the side. It felt like it loaded a lot slower than other things. While I bet owning an iframe is a lot easier from a backend support perspective – you don’t break when they change gmail, it felt a lot more web 1.0 than the other solutions.
Rapportive was well implemented, but had no features. It successfully found that I am LinkedIn to Mike, but didn’t include tweets. All it really lets me do is easily click through to Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook and record a note about a person – kind of CRM-ish.
Both Etacts and Rapportive integrate neatly into the gmail pane so I barely notice they are there unless I want data.
Etacts is the easy winner, hands down. It identifies that we are LinkedIn and shows me shared connections. It shows me several of his last tweets, and it shows me other related threads. Finally, they offer me the “Remind me to contact” feature (a note feature similar to Rapportive was below the fold here), which I am actually intrigued by – I should stay in contact with people better than I do.