Rapportive is a free Gmail extension that replaces Google sidebar ads with practical social networking information about your contacts. This handy, little add-on for Firefox, Safari, Mailplane and Chrome calls up your contact’s social data such as their profile pic, job description (via LinkedIn), and location (via Foursquare or other location-based social apps).
How does it work?
Rapportive starts working immediately after you open an email. If you’re sending a message to multiple recipients, simply hover your mouse over each name to pull up their social summary in the right-hand column of your Gmail inbox. Rapportive looks at the email address and retrieves social data associated with that account. If a person sends you a message using an email not specifically tied to any of their social sites, their information won’t display. Of course, the amount of useful data shown about a contact is based on what you already have entered about this person in your Gmail Contacts and how much they have posted on their social sites.
With Rapportive, you can view your contacts’ recent Twitter posts and even choose to Follow, Retweet or Reply right from within the sidebar. You can view Facebook status updates, as well as “Like” and comment on posts all from within this nifty add-on. You can link directly to your contacts’ other sites such as Google+, LinkedIn, Myspace, Flickr, Foursquare and many others. And you can leave private notes about a contact which are only visible to you. I was even able to place a call via Google Talk by clicking on the ‘Call’ button next to my contact’s phone number.
Personally, I can think of three scenarios where Rapportive comes in really handy:
- Who’s following me now? If you receive email notifications every time a person has friended or started following you on a social site, you’ll instantly see this person’s credentials to verify if they’re someone you know or is just a fake follower.
- Catching-up. Haven’t seen or heard from a colleague in a while? Rapportive is great for instantly bringing you up to speed on the goings-on of old friends and coworkers.
- What did they look like? If you’re good at remembering names but bad at recalling faces, Rapportive will help you with that visual memory jolt.
How to install Rapportive
Installation is simple and fast. Visit Rapportive.com and click on the “Add Rapportive to Gmail” link to begin downloading. Once installed, head back to Gmail (refresh, if need be) and click into any email to see your sender’s social data in the sidebar. You should also see the Rapportive link on the top right-hand side of your screen where you can change your Rapportive settings and add your social networks. Rapportive works with Google Apps and is fully supported by Google Apps Mail and hosted domains.
Once installed, Rapportive is a relationship management tool built right into Gmail. For those not wanting to bother with a full-fledged CRM interface or program, Rapportive is a fast, light-weight alternative for prospecting, conducting client research, networking or simply staying in closer touch with family, friends and colleagues. After all, isn’t that what rapport(ive) is all about?
Let us know what you think of Rapportive in the comments section below.