Rapportive Makes Gmail More Useful

Rapportive is a free browser plugin (available as both a Firefox add-on and as a Chrome extension) for that replaces the adverts in Gmail’s sidebar with useful information about your contacts: a photo, bio and links to social media accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc). It provides similar functionality to Xobni, the popular plugin for Outlook that we’ve covered previously, and MailBrowser, a third-party Gmail extension app that I wrote about back in January.

Installation is simple and takes less than a couple of minutes, and as it’s just a browser plugin it provides a neater solution than MailBrowser, because it doesn’t require you running a separate application for it to work. Once it’s set up, clicking on an email will pull up the sender’s biographical information in Gmail’s right-hand sidebar (where adverts are normally served) and links to their social media accounts; you can also use it to store private notes on each contact.

The service pulls contact information from the Rapleaf database, so the amount of biographical information and links to social media accounts that are returned will depend on how well Rapleaf has managed to tie that contact’s email address to the various social media services. For some of my contacts it works very well, for others it returns little or no info (presumably because some people don’t use their work email address for social media accounts), but I still love the way it adds an extra useful layer of CRM-like functionality to Gmail with no effort on my part.

As Marshall Kirkpatrick notes over on ReadWriteWeb, the service doesn’t need your Gmail password to work — but it does have access to your emails (unlike Xobni and MailBrowser, which are local apps), and, as yet, does not have a privacy policy in place. In the comments thread on Kirkpatrick’s post, Rapportive co-founder Rahul Vohra says the reason there’s no privacy policy yet is that service was only opened up to “show some friends.” The app got picked up by the press and the company was caught off guard by its popularity; Vohra says the company is moving as fast as it can to put a policy in place.

(via The Next Web)

Let us know what you think of Rapportive below.

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise

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