New Gist Social Profiles for Gmail Make Connecting Faster, Easier

During the past few months, we have seen beta versions of browsers launch (Rockmelt) and announcements of entire new email concepts (Facebook) to resolve one “problem” – our email is not social enough. Email doesn’t need to be social – we just need to be able to more easily socialize and connect with those we email with. Social dashboard startup Gist has the solution.

Gist Social Profiles for Gmail Firefox plugin allows you to see the entire social profile of all the people you communicate with in Gmail (or Google Apps). This plugin creates a sidebar alongside your Gmail and creates small profiles of those you are emailing with in each thread. Not only does it smartly pull a picture of the other person (or people), it also streams the latest tweets and Facebook updates from everyone in the conversation, provides each person’s company name, as well as phone numbers. You can expand any user’s module to include the latest 5 articles posted – including not just Facebook updates or tweets, but from anything else published via an RSS feed, such as a blog or┬áLinkedIn – full contact information, a list of how you are connected with them, and even a section to jot a note about the person.

The Gist sidebar can take several minutes to load if you are using it within a thread of several people, but it actually works best in a multi-person thread. In a recent thread involving 10 people, of which I’d only met 3, I was able to quickly access each of their social profiles and contact information in entirety – without ever actually having to search on Facebook, or Twitter, or Google for more about these recent acquaintances. I don’t usually find anything involving social media very groundbreaking anymore, but Gist Social Profiles are actually quite useful and time-saving.

The Gist Social Profiles for Gmail was novel to the point that it becomes a Rockmelt killer when a Chrome extension is released, but also a complete killer of whatever Facebook is planning – at least for grown-ups. Also, Gist Social Profiles could be a killer for desktop email clients, like Thunderbird. Even this girl, who manages four email accounts throughout the day, is now more than happy to have Gmail open in a real Firefox browser window for the Gist plugin – even though I still have to use that email client for the other three accounts.

Have you tried the new Gist Social Profiles for Gmail Plugin? (if you haven’t you should) Will it change the way you use email and connect with others? Or is it just another social media tool you can still do without?

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Kelly Clay, author of Blog Without Boundaries, is a freelance writer and lifestyle advisor.