AllThingsD's Liz Gannes has sources telling her that Rapportive, the best thing that ever happened to email, has been acquired by LinkedIn. We've heard the scuttlebutt, too. Our friends at LinkedIn won't say a word. Rapportive co-founder Martin Kleppmann "can't comment," and CEO Rahul Vohra has been quiet on Twitter lately. That's all we know.
So we aren't reporting that it has happened, but we're bracing ourselves in case it does. Since Rapportive is the most useful plug-in ever, we're concerned about something bad happening to it. But if it had to be somebody, an acquisition by LinkedIn could be a good choice.
Rapportive lives in the sidebar of Gmail and fills in a whole bio about the person emailing you from their LinkedIn profile, Twitter, Facebook and more. Words cannot express how helpful this is. It's most useful as a run-down of who somebody is professionally, and LinkedIn has that info. LinkedIn is pretty good about Twitter integration, too. But will Rapportive continue to be such a good cross-platform profile if LinkedIn buys it? We sure hope so.
LinkedIn already has lots of the pieces of a customer (or contact) relationship management (CRM) service like Rapportive. In January 2011, it bought Cardmunch, a mobile app that turns photos of business cards into online contact info. In October, it acquired Connected, which let users manage, tag and sort contacts across platforms, enter notes (which Rapportive does, too), and view recent communications. That's a lot of smoke around the idea that LinkedIn's building a CRM service. But again, we haven't seen any fire.
It sure would make sense, though. LinkedIn is already the go-to network for work contacts. It's the most comprehensive professional profile most people have. Plus, it's already openly making moves to be a more extensible service, bringing its human resources know-how to other sites that need it. For example, last year, it launched a plug-in that lets employers use LinkedIn for job applications on their own sites. Gmail is another obvious place to put LinkedIn information, as Rapportive has proven.
And just for fun, here's another tidbit. Rapportive is currently a browser extension that works on Gmail. If LinkedIn bought it and threw its weight behind it, imagine the enterprise power of Rapportive for Outlook.
@eileentso Sorry, can't comment. But publishing articles on the basis of rumour and speculation is a dubious practice imho.— Martin Kleppmann (@martinkl) February 7, 2012
Will Rapportive continue to support all the other apps on its platform if LinkedIn acquires it?Will there be Salesforce integration?— Marshall Kirkpatrick (@marshallk) February 7, 2012
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