Stop What You Are Doing & Install This Plug-In: Rapportive" and for many of us who did, Gmail plug-in Rapportive is now an essential daily tool. The service displays social media profile and activity data for people you're corresponding with in the sidebar of your Gmail threads. It's awesome.One year ago this Spring I wrote a blog post titled "
Today Rapportive got even better. No longer content to serve up information about people who have already emailed you, the service now runs ahead of your conversations and puts profile information in your sidebar as soon as you start composing an email. It might sound like a small thing, but it's really not. Check out the demo video below. You can get this feature now at rapportive.com/compose.
Since connecting my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to Rapportive, I've found the service even more useful - I've initiated more LinkedIn connections with people with far less effort required than ever before. The ability to see a picture of the face of the person you're corresponding with? Priceless.
Who wouldn't want to know what a person you're about to email has been doing that day? That's what Twitter and Facebook integration in Rapportive offers. It's not just for sales and marketing people, it's great context for everyone. Add in some Raplets, little bundles of even more 3rd party data integration from services like Crunchbase, Klout, Lanyard and others and Rapportive is a monster in your inbox. And now in your compose window!
In a world of nearly infinite information, where connection between people has never been easier, being good at developing relationships is a key way for anyone to work more effectively and competitively. Rapportive is a great tool for that.
The sidebar's appearance in my compose window seems a little bit slow to me right now, but I may just be getting used to it and it may be the hotel wifi I'm testing it on. I'm really happy about it none the less.
Data and Social Connections as a Platform
The benefits of using a system like this go on and on but if we can zoom out for a minute, this awesome little tool is a great example of two big important trends: value being built on top of aggregated social data from around the web and the social graph/email as a platform for developers. So the next time you hear about people saying "don't track my data across web services" think about the good that can come of it. Thank you, Rapleaf, for helping Rapportive enrich my life and work so much.
Furthermore, all the features in Rapportive are just the tip of the iceberg when you think about all the things that identity, social connections and social network activity data make possible. Sorting, ranking, discovery, alerts, cross-referencing and countless permutations with 3rd party sources of data point towards radically new ways to experience communication on the web in the future. Rapportive is a great example of that.
It's also a great example of what a small independent company can do. Google's own social sidebar Gmail plug-in displays far less information than this and is updated far less frequently. Competitor eTacts was acquired by Salesforce and will probably be slowed to a crawl by the size of that company.
You should really install Rapportive, you'll be glad you did.