Blist Socializes, Opens Public Beta
New social networking features complement the opening of the public beta of Blist, a site that wants to make the database as easy to use as any kind of list.
Today marked the debut of Blist as a publicly available product in beta, awaiting the testing and feedback of a broader audience. The company launched at the DEMO 2008 conference, and wrapped up a Series A round of venture capital financing to the tune of $6.5 million.
We interviewed Blist’s Mathew Johnson ahead of this newest phase in Blist’s existence. Among the features opening up, Blist added site search to help with finding existing databases their creators made available through sharing on the site.
Johnson said opening search for other documents and their authors will make it easier for people to build a Blist when they give it a try. He gave the example of the wine fan who wants to use Blist to organize a collection, and would like to see how another Blist-using oenophile did so.
“Specific applications aren’t as popular as spreadsheets,” Johnson said. “They need to be as easy for databases to catch on.”
Among their top use cases, Johnson said task list management has been popular with Blist’s users. Others, likely small business types, use Blist for tracking groups of people, such as sales leads for a company.
Permission-based controls allow creators to designate who can do what with their Blist:
Those who use productivity suites, notably Microsoft Office, likely tried turning their habit of creating Excel spreadsheets for various needs into Access databases. Even for someone who received instruction on working with Access, or similar desktop products, the learning curve has no barrier to keep people from careening over the edge.
People seeking inspiration from those publicly available databases created and shared in Blist may search for them to find ones that may help with a current project:
The service’s focus on making database creation and management a straightforward process built as an always available, rich Internet application suggests it can fill a niche. Demand will prove the depth of such a niche, but if it grabs enough people as regular users, look for the takeover rumors to get underway at some point soon thereafter.