Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Mingly Makes Gmail Social With $500K From Idealab

Are you one of those people who never forgets a birthday, regularly stays in touch with people and remembers to send out congratulatory gifts when friends go through life changes? Me neither.

Maybe relationship management tool Mingly, which today launches as a plug-in for Gmail in Firefox and Chrome, can help.

As an alternative to viewing your inbox by order of most recent message, Mingly shows a feed of contacts and important events drawn from their social streams, like birthdays, relocations and job changes. Then Mingly users can send private and public messages from within the app onto Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or email, whatever they prefer.

The company has raised $500,000 from Idealab, Allen Morgan, Alex Karelin and others. Now based in San Francisco after completing the LUXr lean user experience program, Mingly CEO Tyler Koblasa says Web and mobile apps are on the way, as well as automatic grouping of contacts.

Mingly is one of many social utility apps such as Xobni/Smartr and Rapportive, all of which are useful and awkward in their own ways. In trying many of them, I’ve found they could stand to integrate a lot more cleanly into the existing user experience of Gmail (or whatever they’re modifying).

Social addressbooks seem like they would be most effective as a mobile app or part of the mobile OS — but app developers have less flexibility there, especially in the controlled environment of iOS.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work